The Windhaven Camp was ready for the Winter Solstice.
As much as such a soulless place could be ready for the celebration, anyway. There was something darkly poetic about garlands and wreaths and sprigs of holly and ivy being hung on buildings that you knew housed awful people. Awful things.
Only three days left to go. If nothing else, the males were in decidedly brighter spirits — meaning there weren’t quite so many sneers, as usual, while you strolled through the camp. It had become a hive of even more activity than normal, with people flying family members in for the celebrations, and the few shops and businesses there were staying open later and later to accommodate last-minute gift buying.
If nothing else, the hectic atmosphere meant that none of the males seemed to glimpse you and your friend, Ivanna, sneaking further into the hills and mountain range for your clandestine work-out sessions.
“You’d think,” Ivanna panted, stopping to lean against a tree, “that considering we’ve grown up here and never left the damn place, we’d be a bit more used to the cold.”
You snorted, tipping your head back and heaving your heavy breaths skywards. Indeed, it seemed the air was teasing a snowstorm — your wings could feel it; a freezing caress that made you long for the roaring fire of Ivanna’s small home. Your small home.
It was almost two years, now, that you’d been living with Ivanna and her father above his shop — a courtesy he’d hesitantly agreed to, only because your own late father had been a friend of his. But as an Illyrian female with no family left — and sparse assets left behind by your father — your best option had been taking refuge in your closest friend’s home. Shacking up with the only three Illyrian males you were friends with — Rhysand, Cassian and Azriel — would have raised too many eyebrows. And so her father had reluctantly taken you in.
Your gratitude for that generosity was about as far as any pleasantries with him went; one look at the ruined remains of her clipped wings was reminder enough of what a bastard he was. Unlike your own father, who had been a very rare breed of Illyrian male — a kind one.
“Shall we walk back,” You said once you’d caught your breath, “or should I fly us?”
“Ugh. Fly.” Ivanna grimaced. “I don’t feel like having frostbite for Solstice. Speaking of which — what have you bought me?”
You rolled your eyes, your lips twitching as you scooped her up into your arms. “Stop asking. I’m not telling you what I’ve bought you.”
“Rude.” She didn’t even jolt as you launched into the skies, your wings beating against the wind. “I have another question.”
“Of course you do.”
A flash of a wicked grin. “Have you heard from Rhysand?”
The humour eddied from you, leaving nothing but emptiness in its wake. The subject was a sore one — one you tried not to broach, if you could help it.
“Since the last time you asked that very question?” You shrugged tersely. “You know I haven’t.”
No, you hadn’t seen Rhys, or heard from him, for months and months, now. The male, who had once been the only light you had in this dark place, seemed to have forgotten your entire existence since becoming High Lord. It was…lonely. Painful. You knew how busy he must be — and grieving the loss of his mother and sister, too. But he’d never shut you out before, never pushed you away. That he’d not even been back to visit, to say hello…it hurt. And the best you could do was pretend that it didn’t.
Ivanna offered you a gentle squeeze as you swooped down into the camp, landing on the path that cut through the training rings. They were mostly empty, with most males having already started their Solstice break, but your stomach plummeted a bit as two dark, towering figures turned into your path.
Edric and Cenric were two males — twins — who you’d had the displeasure of growing up around. Illyrian brutes through and through, they got off on the torment of females — the torment of you and Ivanna, in particular. It had died down a little when you’d become close to Rhys, Cassian and Azriel — but with them so absent these days, it had ratcheted right back up.
“There you both are.” The one on the left — Edric — smirked. “There’s been a spillage in one of the tents. Ale all over the place.”
You rolled your eyes, tugging Ivanna past them. “Guess you’d better find yourselves a mop and bucket, then.”
The twins were quick to dart into your path. It was Cenric who folded his arms, puffing his chest out. “That’s your job. All you females are good for.”
Your head fell into a tilt. “Is that why you opt for rutting against a pillow instead of finding an actual, living being to stick that poor excuse of a cock into? I suppose that vile mouth doesn’t win many females over.”
Both twins’ eyes flashed with rage, with challenge. Edric stepped towards you, his towering height and flared wings seeming to swallow up the lingering daylight.
“Go mop up the mess,” He hissed through gritted teeth, “before I shove you to the floor and make you lick it up.”
You opened your mouth to retort — and promptly snapped it shut at another flash of darkness. Like a cloud of pure midnight pluming behind the twins, the empty path was suddenly shrouded in a mass of smoky black that cleaved in two.
As Rhysand appeared.
“Hello, you two.” The High Lord greeted the twins, his smirk mocking. “How lovely to see you both.”
The two males had the good sense to back down — even if they did so reluctantly. But with Rhys so newly in power, a whole host of adjustments was rippling through the camp. Nobody wanted to get on the High Lord’s bad side — having not quite discerned, yet, what kind of High Lord he was going to be — lest he remember it for years to come.
So both twins dipped their heads and ground out, “High Lord” in unison.
“I see the two of you are still your delightful selves.” Rhys studied them. “Do me a favour, boys — fuck off.”
There was absolutely no hesitation as the twins dipped past the High Lord, not sparing a glance back. Not until Rhys called out to them once more.
“Find a camp mother and ask for a mop and bucket.” He ordered. “Clean your filthy mess up yourselves.”
Edric seemed to pause; seemed to contemplate barking back at him. But it was Cenric who had the sense to pull him away. They quickly disappeared out of sight, their bickering fading with them.
And then Rhys turned back to you. The smirk softly moulded into a smile. “Hello, you.”
Both you and Ivanna bowed your heads. It felt weird — saying the words. “High Lord.”
Rhys snorted. “What’s with the formalities?”
Ivanna relaxed beside you, lifting her chin. But you…you kept your gaze on the ground; didn’t think you could bear looking at him for too long. It would bring too many things to the surface.
Namely, that one, single night of passion you’d shared with him before things had changed so fast, and he was suddenly High Lord of the Night Court. That very night liked to remind you of itself every day. And even more thoroughly, now, with the person in front of you who shared that memory. You begged — begged — your cheeks not to heat beneath his intense gaze.
“How are you, Ivanna?” Rhys politely regarded your friend. “You’re looking well.”
Ivanna inclined her chin. “As are you, High Lord. I’m very well, thank you.”
“Glad to hear it.” His eyes slid to you again. You could practically feel them coaxing you, begging you to look up.
Ivanna cleared her throat. “I actually just remembered — I have to do some stuff. And things.”
That had you looking up — quickly, abruptly, pleading with Ivanna not to leave you alone with him. But she was already clapping you on the shoulder and striding ahead.
“Enjoy your stuff and things.” You shouted after her, huffing.
A middle finger was her only answer.
In front of you, Rhys chuckled. “I forgot how much you two bicker.”
You flicked your gaze to his. Just momentarily — just enough to convey that you didn’t feel like standing and talking.
“Mm.” You murmured, brushing past him. “I suppose it’s easy to forget such things when you never come around anymore.”
You’d barely taken a step forward before he was jumping into your path. Gently grabbing your hand. The warmth of his thick glove was pleasant against your bare, frozen fingers.
“Wait.” He said. “I—how are you?”
“Oh, I’m great, Rhys, thanks so much for asking.”
“…I’m sensing some anger.”
You pulled your hand away. Used it to pinch the bridge of your nose between your thumb and forefinger. “What brings you to Windhaven, Rhysand?”
“Well, it’s common courtesy for the High Lord to deliver well wishes at Solstice—”
You scoffed, launching into a walk once more. But Rhys was quicker, darting right back into your way.
“And I wanted to see you.” He said. “Please—let’s just go inside and talk.”
You stared at him. So many things you wanted to say. So many ways he’d made you feel. And yet you hated that very fact. That it had become unavoidably clear, and there was no escaping it.
You loved him. You were in love with him.
“Come on.” He said, his eyes flickering your shivering form. “At least come and warm up.”
The cold was beginning to become painful, your wings aching with the chill. You could ignore Rhys, go straight back to Ivanna’s house, but…you had a feeling she’d turn you away. Tell you to hear him out.
So you nodded — folded your arms, just so he couldn’t grab your hand again. “Fine. Lead the way.”
You didn’t know where he planned to take you. His mother’s cottage was the most logical place, but…maybe it was too soon, too raw—
“The fire’s already burning in my mother’s place.” He said, as though he’d read your thoughts. “Where are your gloves?”
Your eyes stayed pinned forward as you strolled beside him. “I forgot them today.”
Within seconds, he was pulling the thick gloves from his hands. “Here.”
“We’re almost at the cottage—”
“Put them on or I’ll do it for you.”
You scowled, snatching the gloves away and shoving them on. Their size wolfed your hands, but their pleasant warmth was such a relief, you almost moaned.
Rhys had always been a mother hen. Always behaved like this around you. Even when he was at his limit, stressed beyond comprehension, he’d looked after you.
And then it had all just…stopped. You’d tried to be understanding. Tried to have compassion for the fact that he’d become High Lord very suddenly, much sooner than he’d anticipated. That he was grieving on top of that. And if he’d needed space, you would have happily given it to him…
But to not even just…send a quick word, to tell you he was alright. To know that you were stuck in this awful place, worrying about him, thinking about him…
He probably didn’t even realise how much it hurt. How much you missed your friendship above all else.
His mother’s cottage loomed, sad and empty looking. It had squeezed your heart every time you passed it, to think of the female that had been so kind to you over the years, just — gone. The friend you’d once found in Rhys’s sister, a young girl of such potential — gone.
And then Rhys, just — gone.
He opened the front door, stepping aside to allow you to enter first. Indeed, the fire was roaring heat into the room, and you hurried towards it embarrassingly fast, your hands outstretched to its warmth.
Rhys chuckled softly, shutting the door behind him. “There’s a snowstorm coming. I can feel it in the air.”
You merely nodded — knew full well that he hadn’t brought you here to talk about the weather. As you leaned against the mantelpiece, embracing the power of the flames before you, you allowed your eyes to wander the small room.
It was just as it was when you were last here, months and months ago, now. You’d lost count of how many. The cramped area was crammed full with the echoes of the past, memories from long ago, and…some—some more recent.
Your eyes shot to the worn, shabby couch — your mind darting straight to the last night you’d been here. The night that, after so many years of close friendship, of subtle touches and glances, of meaningless flirting…one thing had finally led to another. You couldn’t remember what conversation, exactly, had led to you and Rhys kissing. How, exactly, you’d ended up on your knees before him, his rough groans filling the cottage as you’d sucked and licked him and brought him to a roaring release.
He’d had to leave for business the next morning. Within days…everything had changed.
Rhys was staring at that exact spot on the sofa, too. Probably reliving that night just as colourfully.
You felt a little petty as you bit out, “Have you brought me here to suck your cock again?”
His eyes flickered to yours, the swimming violet softening. “Of course not. Is that what you think?”
You shrugged. “I don’t really know what to think anymore, Rhys. It’s not like you’ve given me anything to go on.”
His eyes shuttered. Slowly, he moved to the rolled arm of the couch, perching atop it. No wings in sight, now.
“First and foremost,” He said. “I just want to know how you are.”
“I don’t believe you.”
Your eyes glazed over as you forced them to stay on one, insignificant rip in the sofa. Anything to avoid meeting those eyes.
“Why?” You asked flatly.
“Because I know you.” Rhys shrugged. “I know when you’re not fine. Not to mention the fact that you can’t even look at me.”
Your hands tightened into fists. You hated how right he was — that he did know you. That he probably knew every thought currently swimming through your head. That he probably wouldn’t stop pushing until you spilled the truth.
You were mentally willing yourself not to cry as you forced your gaze to him and shrugged weakly. “Alright.” You relented. “I’m not fine. I cannot possibly be fine when I miss you, and I think about you every damn day, and I don’t know what to do about it.”
“And believe me, Rhys, I know you’ve had a lot to contend with. A lot on your shoulders. And if you need to deal with that stuff on your own, that’s fine…but I’m so fucking scared that you pushed me away because of what happened between us that night. Because you didn’t mean for it to happen, but it did, and it might have damaged our friendship beyond repair. I cannot bear that thought because all I care about is having you in my life, even if you can never love me the way—”
You cut yourself off — blinked out of your thoughts, stunned by how freely you’d allowed your words to run. Your cheeks heated as you quickly wiped the tears forming in your eyes. But you knew it was too late — that you’d said too much.
Rhys stared at you. “The way what?”
You closed your eyes, tears spilling over. “Even if you can never love me the way I…the way I love you. I don’t care, Rhys — I just want you back in my life. That’s all that matters to me—”
“I’ve been in love with you since we were teenagers, and you put me in my place for being a prick.”
You stopped, your eyes flying open. You went so, so still.
“I fell in love with you that day.” He stared back at you seriously — vulnerably. “And I have only fallen for you harder and harder every day since. I have been utterly consumed by you since we were eighteen years old. And I love it. I love you.”
“…what…” You breathed. “I…why did you push me away?”
He shook his head. Swallowed, hard. “Everything happened so damn fast. My mother, my sister…becoming High Lord. With my father dying, I knew there would be unrest…dissenters, people who held grudges against my father and would use me as a scapegoat to exact revenge. I needed to be in Velaris…to protect my people. And I wanted to come back, to see you, but…” He released a slow, heavy breath. “The target that has always been on my back is even bigger, now. Tamlin’s family killed the people closest to me. And if people knew what you meant to me…if they knew that I love you…I would be putting a target on your back as well. And that isn’t fair.”
Another tear rolled down your cheek. All these months of wondering…of thinking you’d fucked things up completely. You hadn’t even considered that Rhys was trying to protect you.
“It is for me to decide, Rhysand,” You said quietly, wiping your cheeks, “if I can live with a target on my back. That choice is mine.”
“I know that.” He whispered. “Believe me, I know. But I just…if I lost you too…”
You pushed away from the mantelpiece. Stalked over to him, until you were stood mere inches from him, your legs touching.
“Isn’t it better to take that risk…to live,” You said, “than this alternative? Than us being away from each other? I’m miserable without you.”
“As I am without you.” He met your gaze. “And that is why I came today. Because I can’t take it anymore. I love you, and I want you with me. I want you to come to Velaris.”
You blinked at him — balked. You’d never even been anywhere outside of Windhaven, never dared to push those limits and face potential consequences.
“I…” You stared into those violet eyes, stunned. “…this is my home…”
“In the loosest definition, yes.” Rhys slowly reached out a hand. Slowly brushed his fingers against yours. “But you don’t even have a home of your own here. You don’t have anything of your own here. You should be living, Y/N. Ivanna, too.”
If you were honest…Ivanna was the only thing keeping you there. The thought of leaving her behind, alone with the males…you couldn’t bear it.
But if she could come to Velaris, too. If you could have both Ivanna and Rhys…a life…
You frowned. “What would I do there?”
Rhys shrugged, properly grabbing your hand. “Whatever you want to do. I could find you a position in the court, or…or something, anything else. As long as you're happy. As long as I get to have you with me. Always.”
You studied him. The wonderful, selfless male before you — who you loved so, so intensely. You should have known, all this time, that he’d only pushed you away to protect you. That Rhys would never have left you without reason.
The relief almost had you succumbing to tears all over again.
“Take some time to think it over.” He lifted his other hand to your cheek, his thumb grazing beneath your eye. “No pressure. Just…promise me you’ll put yourself first.”
You snorted, wiping your eyes. “Says the male who puts literally everybody before himself.”
He smirked softly. “Guilty. But I’m always going to do that. Because I love you.”
Your heart guttered. Words you’d wanted to hear for so many years…they didn’t seem real, now.
You swallowed down another onslaught of emotion. “You really mean it?”
“More than I’ve ever meant anything.”
You swallowed. And before you could allow your tears to grip you again, you leaned forward. Pressed your lips against his.
The kiss was…sweet. Not the hungry, passionate kisses you’d shared that one night all those months ago. But a tender kiss that spoke of promise, of a future, of love.
Rhys kissed you back, deeply and slowly, tangling his fingers within your hair. He tugged you closer, slotting you between his legs.
And only when you were both gasping for breath, your chests heaving, did he pull back. Pressed his forehead against yours.
“I love you.” He breathed, his eyes boring into yours.
You pecked him — once, twice. “I love you, too.”
“Well, that’s a relief.” He smirked. “And not only do I love you, but I believe I owe you.”
“Hmm. If I remember correctly, the last time we were in this cottage, you had your head between my legs. It seems only fair that I return the favour.”
You felt heat pool inside you. Felt your toes curl in your boots. And you knew, from the way Rhys’s nostrils flared, his pupils dilating, that he immediately noticed the change in your scent.
“You’d better return that favour, then.” You bit down on your lip. “It is Solstice, after all.”
“It would be my pleasure.”
He grasped the back of your head, pulling your face back to his. And every part of you sang and shattered beautifully as he laid you down on the sofa.
Summery: Y/N is finding out just how difficult training is in her first week. But some guidance helps her realise she shouldn't give up just yet.
AN: I hope you enjoy this second chapter. Where Az and Y/N actually interact with one another. Like I said, it's gonna be a slow burn but totally worth it ❤️
Over the next four days your body felt like lead. Every muscle, even the ones you didn’t realise you had ached. Each morning was just as hard as the next, getting out of bed had your body protesting with all it’s might. However, you still made yourself get up, no matter how much it hurt. You made yourself ready for your 8:30am flight to the house of wind and for the two hours of training, you made your body cooperate somehow.
Each morning you trained with the same three priestesses as Azriel’s close eye watched over at you. You began to work not only on the stretches and balancing movements but also breathing. By the third day, you had started to relax into training. No one laughed when you would fall or couldn’t hold a movement. Instead, they smiled and encouraged you to try again. So, you would. You got back up each time, sweat dripping from your brow and muscles aching and tried again. But for the first time in a long time your mind was quiet. The only thing you thought of was how your body moved, how each breath controlled the movement and how terribly unfit you were.
Azriel would watch you all, giving instructions as he spiralled round you. Asking you to change stance or control your breathing, where to place your feet and where is the best place to put your weight. You followed each instruction as well as you could. However, each time you caught the Illyrians eye you faltered. No matter how many times you tried to compose yourself, his stunning hazel eyes on you had your knees buckling.
Deep breaths. You would tell yourself when you felt your palms getting sweaty or your legs began to turn to jelly. He never spoke directly to you, only to the group as a collective and you preferred it that way. If this was how you reacted in his presence alone, you couldn’t imagine what you would be like in a one-to-one convocation with him.
“Elbows up” his deep voice would instruct you as you changed your stance. “Weight in your heels and breath out into it” you followed his instructions as much as you could, but you still felt your body giving way under the strain, unable to hold it for as long as the rest of your group. You had a lot of catching up to do.
At the end of each session, you would talk amongst the priestesses, Emerie, Nesta and Cassian whilst having a much-deserved drink of water. Azriel never stuck around, he left almost as soon as the session finished, without so much as a sideways glance. Cassian would say he was off doing something or other for Rhysand and left it at that. It was nice to get to know the other women. Some were very quiet, like the ones in my training group. However, some were talkative and told me stories from their past and how they ended up here. It seemed that they had all been through a lot and the training was slowly healing them. Some still hadn’t braved leaving the library that you were told was under the house of wind.
Listening to some of their stories and what they went through made you realise that you were doing the right thing. No matter how much your body currently disagreed. You wanted to feel whole again. Not thinking about the past every waking moment with only books to ease your mind. Even the flying with Cassian to and from your shop wasn’t as terrifying. Although, you still hadn’t braved opening your eyes during the flights yet. Cassian would just laugh and tell you that you would get used to it…..eventually.
Your afternoons were just as quiet as usual. The bakery didn’t get many customers so you found that you would carry on practising some of the easier movements from the morning’s session. The shop was only very small and unforgiving. You realised this whilst trying to practise. You knocked a full tray of pastries onto the floor, spinning to try and catch them you sent another tray crashing down. Groaning, you picked up the pastries and cleaned the floor. The space wasn’t big enough for you to practise, and you really needed the practise. You were the worst out of the whole group by far. Even in your little group, the priestesses were now progressing, and you were still falling over on the easier movements.
The next morning arrived quickly. You had been sleeping very well as your body pleaded with you to rest. So good that each day you barely managed to get ready for bed before your eyelids became heavy and reality slipped from you. Cassian arrived precisely on time every single morning. 8:30am on the dot.
“Good morning sleepy head” Cassian smirked as you locked up the bakery. The small bags under your eyes were very clearly visible.
“Today is usually my day off” you grunted at the amused Illyrian. “Do you even know what that is?” your half-hearted attempt at a come-back.
“Of course. Winter solstice is my day off” he picked you up in one swift movement and launched into the sky.
“You only have one day off a year?” you yelled over the howling wind. Eyes clenched closed as he flew you to the training rings.
“I might get the odd day but when I do, I still train” he seemed to dig at me. You hummed in response.
You were happy for the distraction of training. Your days off usually were filled with sleeping in, cleaning and reading. It was quite lonely once you really thought about it. But seen as training was every day, you didn’t have time to feel so lonely on your days off anymore and you welcomed that thought.
Training carried on through the morning exactly as it had been for the previous four days. Your little group circled together at the edge of the training ring and began your stretches. Azriel instructed the three priestesses on other stretches whilst you still worked on the basics. Each stretch seemed to get worse rather then better. You became more and more frustrated as the session went on, falling on your ass more times than you wanted to admit. All you wanted was to progress with the other three, but your body wasn’t cooperating.
Instead, each time you did a move your body cried out. Your muscled became unbearably heavy and you would collapse in a pile on the floor again. The morse you failed the more annoyed you started to become. But you kept getting back up, brushing yourself off and trying again.
The end of the session came around quickly and you gathered to get some water. You couldn’t even fake a smile as you sipped on your drink whilst the others chattered around you.
“Ready to go back?” Cassian peered over you, you gave him a defeated nod as you pushed off the wall you were leaning against. “You just need to keep practising, I promise you will get the hang of it. One day it will just click” he assured you with soft eyes and pat on the shoulder.
“I think I’m getting worse, if that’s even possible” you hid your face behind your hands to hide your shame.
“It’s just because your body is having to learn to move differently. That’s why it is sore. Once your body strengthens, it will become easier”.
You peeled your hands from your face. “I want to catch up. To keep practising but my shop is too small” you sighed.
“Train here if you like” Nesta appeared beside Cassian. “You are more then welcome. I know how you feel. When I first started, I was useless” she smiled softly before hitting Cassian’s arm playfully for agreeing.
“Do you mind? Today is my day off so if I could stay for a while….” You trailed off.
“Of course, maybe training by yourself will help calm your mind even more, focus on the movement” Nesta handed you another glass of water which you took gladly.
“But” Cassian cut in. “You need to eat before you carry on or you will faint” he gestured to follow them into the house.
“I don’t want to overstay my welcome” you resorted.
“Nonsense” was all Nesta said before she ushered you into the house.
You ate a bowl of chicken soup that the house magically dropped at your place at the table. Cassian and Nesta sat opposite you whilst Gwyn and Emerie sat to your left. They all welcomed you with open arms. Asking questions about your bakery and all the new recipes you had been working on.
“Those cinnamon swirls were delicious” Nesta boasted. “We will have to stop by and get some more soon”.
“You are welcome anytime” you blushed slightly. “I’ll have to bring enough for an after-training treat”.
All of them nodded excitedly at the thought of them. Convocation flowed easily between the five of you and before you knew it you had been sat talking for over an hour.
“I better get back” Gwyn was the first to stand. “Merrill will no doubt be wondering where I am”. The rest of the others followed suit. Having to be in one place or another. You got up to go back to the training ring when Cassian politely caught your attention.
“Y/N, I need to go run a few errands. I’ll be back around 6pm. Feel free to go to the library if you have had enough of training and I will take you home when I get back” he smiled as you thanked him. He began to walk out before adding “or you could brave the ten thousand stairs home. Up to you” he chuckled at the scowl you threw him.
The training ring seemed so empty and quiet compared to a couple of hours ago. You situated yourself in the centre of the ring and began working through the stretches.
Breath in. Breath out.
Without anyone else there to distract you or watch as you stumbled and picked yourself back up again, you found that you managed to hold the stretches for slightly longer than this morning. You progressed to work on the balancing exercises.
Breath in. Hold. Breath out.
Your body strained and your knees threatened to buckle but you held strong. Until you didn’t, you hit the ground with force. You felt the anger and frustration creeping up along your skin.
Breath. Breath. Breath. Try again.
Standing up you repeated the same exercise. Balancing on one leg whilst the other was outstretched behind you and bending your upper body at the hip. You had been working on this stance every day.
You held it and moved onto the next, more of a fighting stance. Both feet placed on the floor, one slightly more behind so you stood sideways. Hands up and…..
“What are you still doing here?” a deep voice sounded from behind you. You spun around so quickly, you swear you almost gave yourself whiplash. Azriel stood at the edge of the training ring, wearing his Illyrian leathers. His arms were crossed over his chest as he stared at you, face a mask of no emotion as he waited for your answer. Your heart began beating quickly, not just from the surprise of someone sneaking up on you but from his hazel eyes piercing into yours.
“Practising” was all you could manage to force out as your throat tightened, realising this was the first time you have actually been spoken to directly from him. His eyes looked you up and down before he heaved a deep sigh. You half expected him to walk away or kick you out but instead he entered the training ring and made his way towards you.
“Do the stance again” he instructed as he came to a halt a mere meter away from you. It took you a second to register what he had asked of you. Your whole body was tense as he waited for you to move. You shook yourself back to reality and did as he asked. Standing side-on raising your arms with a clenched fist and taking a deep breath. “Raise your elbows” you did as he instructed. “Higher”.
You forced yourself to concentrate on what was being asked of you. What your body was doing but your mind kept wondering to the male. His eyes on your body as he walked around you. “Like this?” you asked raising your elbows higher, voice barley above a whisper.
“May I?” he stood right beside you, his hazel eyes on yours asking if he was able to move you into the correct position. You swallowed before nodding once. His hand was featherlight as he raised both your elbows to the correct position. “There. If they are any lower your arms become weak and useless” he mimicked the difference elbow position can make using his own arms.
Breath in. Hold. Breath out.
“You will break your fist if you throw a punch like that” he stood in front of you now. His body towered over your small frame. You could feel the heat rising to your cheeks as you had to crane your neck to look at his face.
“How do I avoid that?” you asked quietly, and you swore you saw the corner of his mouth twitch upwards slightly. He began to reach for your hand before stopping in his tracks, looking at you like he was asking permission again. You nodded. His hand gently reached out and moved your fingers and thumb. You only then noticed the scars upon both his hands, your eyes briefly scanned them before ignoring them, like he had with yours. His hands were warm as they strategically placed your thumb and fingers into position.
“There. Keep your thumb there or you’ll break it. Wrists flat and strong” he released your hand and took a step away. “Good, next stance” he instructed.
We went through each stance that you had been working on. Azriel positioned you and gave you tips while you asked tentative questions. As we worked through each stance, you relaxed more, focusing on the training rather then him. Each movement seemed easier with his direct instructions. Frustration wasn’t building up as things seemed to click into place and your body obeyed your asks. You went over each stance a couple of times, Azriel making sure you paid attention as we came back to previous movements.
“Balance exercises. You put too much of your weight into your toes” he gestured “Your weight needs to be in your heel or you’ll keep falling over”. Your cheeks burnt red with embarrassment as you recalled all the falls you had in front of him over the last week. “Show me the first position”.
You did as he said. Holding your leg out behind you. Breathing in and out slowly and holding the position. He walked around you as you stayed in place, you wobbled slightly but stayed strong.
“Lift your leg a bit higher” and you slowly did as he asked. Lifting your leg higher behind you and bending your upper body to be parallel to the ground. You tried to push yourself a bit further but….”Weight in your heel” was all you heard before you lost your balance completely and the ground rushed up to meet you.
Luckily your hands hit the ground before your face did, taking the full impact of your fall. You grunted as you slowly turned over and sat upright. Azriel crouched beside you, but you couldn’t meet his eyes as you felt the embarrassment of falling over, yet again, in front of him. “I’m not very good at this” you sighed as you brushed off the dirt from your grazed palms.
“You are getting better” Azriel held out his hand for you and helped you back up. “You’ve only been here a couple of days, give yourself some credit” he smiled softly. He actually smiled at you, your stomach flipped as you released his hand.
“The others are mile ahead of me” you brushed down your clothes as you got into position again.
“Does it matter? You are all here to learn” he inspected you yet again as you lifted your leg behind you.
“It matters to me” you took a deep breath. Willing your mind and body to relax.
“I understand. Weight in your heel” he reminded as you wobbled again.
“How can you? Don’t Illyrians learn all this when they learn to walk” you willed yourself to hold the position for just a couple more seconds before you lowered your leg and rebalanced yourself.
“Not all Illyrians” you met his gaze, there was pain behind those eyes. “I was miles behind Cassian and Rhys but I trained everyday until a caught up and then I kept going”. You didn’t push him further, some things a better left unasked unless that person wants to share. Plus, this was the most you had heard him speak when he wasn’t instructing, and you didn’t want to overstep.
“That’s why stayed behind today” you nodded. “To catch up”.
“I think you are done for today. You’ve done well” he gestured for you to follow him to the water station and get a drink. You both drunk in content silence until you finished your glass. “What is your plan now?” he asked.
You glanced at the clock which read just after 4pm. “I guess I will go to the library for a while until Cassian gets back to fly me home” you had to lean against the wall to stop your legs from giving way. The lack of movement already making them stiffen.
“I can take you back if you’d like?” he offered softly. “Saves you having to wait – unless you wanted to go to the library for something?” he raised a brow at you.
“No, I was just going to pass the time but if you’re not busy…..” you stuttered. “I would appreciate it if you could take me”.
“I’m not busy” he held out his hand for you to take. You nervously took his hand, praying to the mother he wouldn’t notice how sweaty your palms were. His hands were soft despite the callouses and scars as he brought you closer to him. He lifted you gently into bridal style. You could feel the hard muscles of his body through his leathers as you wrapped your arms around his neck. His warmth cocooned around you before he looked into your eyes. “Are you ready?” he asked your approval before launching into the skies.
“Yes, I think so” you nodded. Clinging closer to him as his wings stretched to their full length. You gazed over them in awe as they spread wide, ready to take off.
“Hold on tight” was his last words before his strong wings flew us up into the skies above the house. You closed your eyes tight as you had done each time Cassian had flown you to and from the house. Wind caught in your hair as you felt Azriel’s wings beating behind you. “You’re missing the view” his voice was a hot breath on your ear.
“I can’t” was the only words you could muster. You felt his chest rumble with a chuckle as you held on tighter to him.
“Yes, you can. Trust me” his deep voice soothed. It took every ounce of strength that you had to slowly peel your eyelids open. It took your eyes all of a couple of seconds to adjust to the light before you could see the city of Velaris below. You held your breath as you slowly peered down, braving to take a look at how high you were. “I won’t let you fall, I promise” Azriel reassured you as he could no doubt feel your body shaking.
You stared at him for a second. Into his hazel eyes that told you that you could trust him. There was no malice there only a soft, comforting look. He broke the eye contact, tilting his head in a gesture for you to look around.
Breath in. Hold. Breath out.
You gasped as you took in the view that surrounded you. You could see the whole city from here, the colours of the buildings on the Rainbow, the running river of the Sidra. The view from the house of wind was nothing in comparison to this. The mountains that surrounded the city stood tall as the sun began to fall on this Autumn day.
“It’s beautiful” you breathed it all in as you finally relaxed in Azriel’s arms. His body keeping you warm from the cold wind that hit your face. “You get to see views like this everyday?” you couldn’t take your eyes away from the city. It warmed your chest to see the beautiful place that you lived in.
“I guess when you have flown as long as I have, you take it for granted” he paused. “That is until I get to show someone it for the first time and realise how lucky I am to see such sights”. You looked at him then. The faint smile on his lips as he held you close, his wings and strong arms never faltering whilst carrying you. “Plus, I have no clue where you live. You had to open your eyes, or I could have dropped you off on the wrong side of town”.
“I preferred the first thing you said” you laughed and he returned the small chuckle before you told him exactly where you lived. It wasn’t long before Azriel touched the ground right outside your bakery. He gently set you down and you immediately missed the warmth of him as you stepped up to the front door.
“Thank you for today” you smiled before unlocking the door, he bowed his head in response. “Do you want anything to eat or drink before you go?” you offered quickly before he left.
“I’m alright but thank you” he politely declined. “I have a couple things I should be getting to, but I will see you in the morning”.
“Alright, I will see you tomorrow” you smiled trying not to show any signs of slight disappointment. He gave you a last farewell smile and shot back into the skies. You watched as he flew further away until you could no longer make out more then a black dot against the blue sky.
You leaned your back against the front door of your shop once you closed it behind you. Taking a minute to go over all the events of the day. Your body was aching, and the bath upstairs was basically yelling your name.
The next hour was spent soaking your aching body in the soapy water. Remembering each instruction Azriel had given you.
How his hand felt in yours.
No. How to keep your balance and how to breath in each stance.
How his voice made you shiver when he said you could trust him.
No. You pushed your wondering thoughts deep, deep down. What the hell was wrong with you? Yes, he was probably the most beautiful male you had ever seen but you were better at keeping your cool than this. Focus on the training, that is what you need to focus on…….and you did.
Summary: Reader is a gifted surgical healer and water bender. Rhysand needs her help when he finds out about Feyre’s risky pregnancy. Azriel finds out reader is his mate.
Word Count: 2,916
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11
Part 7: Mate
It was the morning of Solstice. Azriel paced around his room, unable to sleep all night, unable to get you out of his mind.
From the moment Rhys introduced you to him before Feyre’s surgery, you seized every waking moment of Azriel’s life. He couldn’t even blink or sleep without you consuming his thoughts. He took any opportunity to be around you, brush his fingers against yours, his ruined hands aching to run over every inch and curve of your body.
Azriel had a suspicion as soon as you walked into the House that you were his mate. His shadows were annoyingly obsessed with you, always finding an excuse to swarm in your direction, and it took everything in his power to keep them leashed under his command. He and his shadows were entranced by you, and although he knew he should keep his distance, he couldn’t help himself as he kept finding reasons to be near you, talk to you, touch you.
But he knew better than to get his hopes up. Cassian and Rhys—they were deserving, more than deserving of mates. They were honorable, gentle, kind, strong. His brothers were the most noble and fiercely loyal men he had known his entire life. Azriel wished he could say the same about himself. His self-hatred ran deep, feeling no better than bastard-born murderous scum. He did nothing right to deserve someone like you in his life, and the Mother knew it. He had always wished for a mate, the desire becoming all-consuming when Feyre and Nesta came around. He was happy for his brothers but couldn’t contain the jealousy that would eat away at him in his loneliness.
And then you showed up, like a gift from the Gods, with your bright sparkling eyes, sweet honey-jasmine scent, the melodic sound of your laugh that skittered along his bones.
All night, he replayed his failed attempt at impressing you yesterday with a surprise flight when you returned from town with your shopping bags in tow. He thought the gesture was sweet, and he was delighted to be the first one to take you flying, but your grumbling had Azriel reeling all night.
He knew what you were thinking: that something was going on between him and Elain. He wanted so badly to explain that there was nothing; he simply had to play nice with his brother’s sister-in-law, per Rhys’s commands. Everyone knew Elain had been pining over him since they first met in the mortal realms, but Rhys didn’t want to risk any tensions between Feyre’s sisters, already traumatized from dealing with Nesta’s backlash after she was Made. Azriel had no choice but to keep the peace, even if it meant never setting that boundary with Elain. He knew it was wrong and that he should just be honest with her, but he was afraid of causing any disturbance with the sensitive female. He was caught now between placating Elain and allowing a misrepresented image of himself in your perspective, worsening by the day as Elain constantly barged into your private moments with him. Az cursed himself, but today would be the day. He would end everything with Elain on Solstice and confess his true feelings to you.
He left for town right before you, hoping to “casually” run into you in one of the stores or strolling through the streets, tracking your scent from shop to shop. Your gift was the last one he had to pick up. He knew the second he saw that they were perfect: soft black leather gloves, lined with fur on the inside to keep your hands warm during training in the morning, with the very tip of the fingers cut out so you could still waterbend and feel connected to the fluids as you trained. Azriel knew how much you hated the cold, evident from your adorably grumpy face and shivering body every morning when Cassian would drag you out to the roof. He wanted to wrap you in his arms and keep you warm, but for now, the gloves would do. Wrapping the gift carefully, he left it at the bottom of the stack of presents so it would be the last one you opened.
The guilt ate Azriel alive as he watched you try and fail to become friends with Elain. His heart sank as he watched her disregard your gift, throwing it towards her pile as if it were trash. It was his fault this was happening, and you were suffering the consequences. That was when he decided things had to change. He couldn’t stand the disappointment on your face.
He figured you would get everyone a gift since it was your first Solstice with the Inner Circle, but was still giddy with joy as he opened yours in the comfort and privacy of his room. It took him less than a few seconds to pick your gift out from the rest, his shadows circling it incessantly until he found it. He unwrapped the small package quickly, hating the contrast of his marred hands against your perfect wrapping. Finding the perfect place on his desk to set the mug, right within his view, it would be the first thing he saw when he woke up and the last before going to sleep.
Sleep that escaped him so often these days, just like tonight.
It was Solstice, and he wouldn’t let another day go to waste. He needed to make things right.
Gods damn it, Mor, Azriel thought to himself while getting dressed for Rita’s. He wanted a moment alone with you so he could explain everything: that he didn’t care about Elain and knew how bad it looked, how he had been wanting to explain himself, to now give you the chance to get to know him and who he is behind the mask of the Night Court’s Spymaster.
But of course, Mor suggested Rita’s, and it was Feyre’s birthday. He had to go.
He tried his best to impress you, donning an all-black ensemble, cut perfectly to fit the strong, hard planes of his body and showcase the Illyrian tattoos swirling over his muscled chest. But then you emerged from Mor’s room, and he felt like absolutely nothing compared to you. You took his breath away, looking like a dream in the flowy blue dress, matching the color of his siphons. It took every ounce of Azriel’s control to refrain from tackling Cassian to the ground when he saw his brother twirling you around, your laughter like a salve that healed every wound in his heart.
But the night only plummeted downhill from there.
“Hi, Az,” Elain started sweetly with a wide grin, looping her arm through Azriel’s. “Ready for a fun night?” she asked, batting her lashes as she looked up at him with wide, innocent eyes, and Azriel knew without her asking that he would have to be the one to fly her in. Like always. With a deep sigh, he nodded and scooped her up, Elain’s fingers playing with the silky strands at the base of his neck.
Get your hands out of my hair, he wanted to spit at her.
Rita’s was packed and vibrating with loud music, and Azriel wanted nothing more than to snatch you from the crowd and take you home. He couldn’t help the lump in the back of his throat that formed at Mor’s toast, raising his glass ever-so-slightly higher at your name. Even though it hadn’t been long since you entered his life, Azriel’s chest swelled with pride at your progress as a healer and waterbender. You overcame so much in your short time at the House, tackling your weaknesses one by one. He hoped you could feel the genuine love and adoration in Mor’s words; they were reflective of how everyone felt about you, not just him.
Azriel wasn’t one for dancing, so he returned to the table where he knew Elain would be waiting for him, legs crossed and leaning back in the booth, giving the seat next to hers a pat, an invitation for him to join her. Thank Gods Gwyn was there this time, too. The perfect buffer. And he knew by the look on Elain’s face she wasn’t pleased about it.
Azriel tried his best not to stare as he watched you mingle and drink and dance, tried not to let his wrath unleash as he saw his friends take turns with you: Mor, Nesta, Cassian.
But then he saw the way you looked at Lucien.
Saw Lucien make his way through the crowd towards you, drinking from your glass before you grabbed him by the collar and whispered in his ear.
No fucking way.
There was no way that you were interested in that egotistical snarky fox boy. Azriel loathed the entirety of the Autumn Court, including Lucien. He didn’t care if he was Helion’s son, and especially didn’t care now that Lucien had a hand around your waist. Even Elain went rigid next to him, a low growl escaping her lips that Azriel barely registered as—
Right then—it hit him.
Azriel couldn’t breathe. The pounding of his heart rang in his ears.
No no no no no
His mouth remained slightly parted as he stared you down, the entire world melting away into a blur of darkness, as he watched a tiny gold thread unravel itself, straight from his chest to yours. You danced and danced, twirling and spinning with your eyes closed, smiling wide, singing along to the music, your hair billowing around you as if you were underwater, skin glowing with the light of a million stars. Azriel had never seen a more beautiful sight. Tears lined his eyes, and he didn’t even realize he had gotten out of his seat, hand almost stretched out as if he could touch you from where he stood.
And then the world came back into focus, and all he could see was Nesta’s hands on you, Lucien’s hands on you, everyone’s fucking hands on you.
He was going to throw up.
Anger roiled through every single vein and he couldn’t get enough air in his lungs. Azriel saw red as his shadows began swarming around his neck in a frenzy. Mate mate mate they chanted, over and over, louder and louder. His lip curled back in disgust, baring his teeth with a low, feral snarl.
Elain said with a cool, delicate hand on his forearm, feigning innocence as if she wasn’t aware of what was happening, “Az, is everything okay? You seem tense.”
Azriel whipped his head towards her, anger and rage sparking in a frenzy in those deep hazel eyes. Elain’s eyes widened as she recoiled from his arm. Gone was the cool calm mask of the Spymaster. Cassian, sauntering over to the table with a round of shots, grabbed Azriel by the shoulder, ready to drink with his brother when he saw the look on his face and nearly dropped the glasses in his hand.
“Az, what’s wrong?”
Azriel ripped Cassian’s hand off of him. “She’s my mate, and Lucien’s got his filthy fucking hands all over her,” he seethed. Wrath and grief rolled off of him in near-palpable waves, and his serpentine shadows wreathed around his neck, ready to strike and attack: the portrait of a Prince of Darkness.
Snapped out of his drunken stupor, Cassian gaped at his brother, then at you, then back at his brother. Before he could think, Azriel’s feet were already carrying him to you. He couldn’t help it, he had to rip Lucien off of you. But when he saw the way you rolled your eyes at him as if he wasn’t even worth the dirt under your feet, as if he was nothing, his heart cracked in two. That golden thread shone brighter than ever, but… With the way you ignored him and kept dancing with Lucien, he knew that you didn’t know. The bond hadn’t clicked in for you yet. Cassian made his way through the crowd, making sure to avoid any hassle with Lucien, and winnowed you home. Azriel took to the skies to release his anger.
Mate. He had a mate. He had never even dared to dream of this day, the day he would meet his match, his equal, his Cauldron-blessed mate. All for it to end up like this. Had Cassian not intervened, you would’ve gone home with Lucien. Let him ravish and worship your body in the way that Azriel had been dreaming of since the moment he laid eyes on you. The thought made him blind with rage.
He landed on the balcony of the House with a loud thud, pacing back and forth to cool off. He had to check, had to make sure Lucien didn’t somehow slither his way into the House. He knew it was impossible, but… still.
He first sent his shadows toward your room to confirm. Safe safe safe, they whispered menacingly in his ear. Cracking open the bedroom door, he peered in and dropped his head in relief. You were alone, sprawled out on your bed, snoring softly. Azriel couldn’t help the small smile that graced his face, the first one all night. With a deep sigh, he walked silently over to you, covering you with a blanket. Az allowed himself to drink in the sight of you, sleeping peacefully and deeply, before winnowing into his room. He sat on the edge of his bed, head dangling in defeat. He had a plan, he was going to tell you everything tonight. But he ruined it. All because he couldn’t put his foot down with himself, with Rhys, with Elain. His shadows swirled frantically around his ankles, wrists, and neck, begging him to go be with you. Az didn’t have the energy to contain them anymore and let them find their way to you.
He hadn’t even realized how late it was, the low light of the early morning now peaking through his bedroom curtains. Fuck. It was already time for training. He took a quick bath, scrubbing himself in the scalding hot water to get rid of any trace of his shitty night. The tugging of the bond was intolerable. Please, it begged, please tell her. All he wanted was to grab your sleeping body and carry you into his bed, the safety of his arms where he knew no one would be able to touch you. How did Rhys last so long with Feyre in the Spring Court? he thought, unable to stand another second of you not being his.
The chill winter morning air bit at his skin while he waited for Cassian and Nesta to join him on the roof. But to Azriel’s surprise, Rhys and Feyre showed up before anyone else.
“Az, is everything alright?” Despite perfecting his unreadable Spymaster mask, Feyre had gotten to know the small changes in Azriel’s demeanor over the years and could tell when something was bothering him.
“She’s my mate,” he whispered with a tired, distant look, one arm crossed over his chest, the other mindlessly tugging at his black stud earring. Rhys and Feyre didn’t need further details. They shared a panicked look, and Rhys quickly said, “Maybe it’s best if you sit out this training, then.” But before Az could answer, a bright flash of sunlight lit up the roof as Helion and Lucien appeared in the training ring. The High Lord of the Day Court sat atop a beautiful pegasus, its silky golden coat, mimicking the crown resting on Helion’s head, glowing in the morning sun.
No fucking way. Not again.
Az threw Rhys an incredulous look, one mixed with rage. Truth Teller was in his hand in an instant, angled with lethality, and in response, Helion let out a deep, seductive laugh. “Now, now, my beautiful wicked Shadowsinger. We come in peace. Our dearest Lord of Night has asked Lucien to help train Y/N with her waterbending. He is her opposite and will use his fire so she can begin her combative training against other skills. Unless, of course, you want to play with her and your shadows, a sight I would pay good money to delight in,” Helion said with a dazzling grin. Azriel’s lip curled back as he glared at Lucien, who simply held up his hands with a smirk. He would rip that smile right off his stupid fucking mouth.
“Rhys, you have to be fucking kidding me. Find someone else, anyone else except this asshole,” he seethed with stone-cold fury. Rhys pulled him aside, away from the group, as Cassian, Nesta, and Elain made their way outside.
“Please, Az. I’m sorry, I didn’t know, but Lucien and Helion are here now and graciously accepted my request to train with her. It’s going to be fine, I told Lucien to take it easy. Trust me, I know how it feels. But after training today, you can be honest with her. I won’t force you to keep worrying about Elain’s feelings. Feyre and I will deal with that. It’s time she gives her own mate a chance, anway” he said, glancing sidelong at Lucien. “We will convince her today to go spend some time in the Day Court.” Rhys offered a sympathetic look, which did nothing to calm the icy rage that exploded repeatedly in Azriel’s chest. He didn’t say another word as you finally stalked over to the edge of the ring, eyes wide.
summary: You’ve wanted Azriel forever. So how do you respond when he accidentally walks in on you in the bath reading a smutty romance novel?
After sparring for hours on the roof of the House of Wind with Cassian and Azriel, the only thing in the world I wanted was a melt-your-skin-off steaming bath with a glass of wine and the newest smutty novel Nesta gave me to borrow this morning. Sighing, I stripped my leathers off as quickly as possible. My muscles ached. I lit a few candles and poured some jasmine-scented soap into the bath as the water roared, bubbles creating a plush layer over the borderline boiling water.
Stepping in one foot at a time, I nearly moaned in relief as I sank deeper, bubbles almost to my chin. The water loosened my tense muscles as I leaned back in the huge clawfoot tub, letting my hair drape over the lip of the ceramic basin. I lifted the book, turning to the chapter I left off on. I had started the book today before sparring, stopping before what I knew was a particularly spicy chapter. I didn’t want to go into sparring all riled up, but would much rather read it alone where I could take care of myself when those feelings overwhelmed my senses. Or else I couldn’t promise I wouldn’t jump Azriel’s bones right in the middle of a training session.
My cheeks heated just at the thought of the spymaster. He had no clue I had such a huge crush on him. I hoped. At least I told myself that to ease some of the embarrassment of being so utterly captivated by someone so unattainable. I was one of the Valkyrie, yes, but most certainly not close enough to Azriel to assume he’d ever pay me any mind. He had other more important things to worry about, I was sure.
I hummed as I read the next chapter, the scene heating in a way that made my blood pump faster. My skin felt like it was tightening as I began to squirm, the scene overtly erotic. I pretended not to pay mind to the fact that the male I was picturing in the story just so happened to be a certain towering shadow-ridden Illyrian. I pressed my thighs together at the thought of him, his weight pressing down on me, his mouth exploring my body.
A fierce and quick knock at my door sounded before it was opening and I panicked, sitting up quickly sending a wave of water and bubbles splashing onto the marble flooring as I attempted to keep my book as dry as physically possible, horrified by the idea of ruining the pages. A tall, slender figure walked into my room, head swiveling at the sound of my clamoring. My room in the House of Wind had an open floor plan that had an archway that opened to the grand bathroom, cursed with no bathroom door. Usually, I am delighted by this feature, but right now not so much.
Hazel eyes met mine and I let out a small yelp. Oh so incredibly slowly, the corner of his full mouth curved upwards in a feline smirk. I wanted to disappear. Gods, this couldn’t be happening. No way was this real. I slipped in the tub and hit my head or something, surely.
“Azriel???” I shrieked out, trying to cover myself from his eyes, my cheeks so hot my body felt like it was on fire. But I didn’t tell him to get out.
He paused for a long moment, eyes set aflame with delicious deviance. Then he began to grin. His eyes caught on the smutty novel clutched in my hands.
“What are you reading there, little Valkyrie?” He purrs, taking one step closer to me with languid swiftness. A sudden roiling filled my gut as I realized he could probably smell how turned on I was. And how much more intense it got with his proximity.
“Battle tactics,” I say, tucking the book on the side of the tub opposite him so he couldn’t see the erotic romance cover. But then of course he’d probably already taken note of it much before I had.
“Is that so?” He grinned at me like the devil, poised to strike a dark bargain. And my god, did I want to shake his hand and seal my fate. “I had come to bring you the water bottle you left up at the House, but now I’m invested in these battle tactics. Care to share?”
I swallowed hard, my mouth opening but no sound came out. I scrambled to find the words for a witty response. Azriel prowled closer to me, eyes never leaving mine. Butterflies swarmed in my stomach as my heart pounded. He was at the side of the tub much too quickly and I was so distracted by his nearness that I didn’t anticipate his plan as he quickly swiped the book from my hands.
“HEY-” I yelled out, moving to stand up to grab it back, but quickly noticed just how naked I was. He chuckled, knowing I could only steal the book back from him if I exposed my naked body to him as well. Which I was not ready to do. He made me so nervous. He moved to the vanity, swiftly hopping up to perch on the sink, legs hanging off. He opened to the bookmarked page, his face triumphant.
His eyebrows shot up, eyes flicking over to me as he devoured the words on the page. I chewed my nails, feeling so embarrassed I was close to tears. But I was also thrilled at his closeness and attention.
“Battle tactics, indeed, little Valkyrie.” He purred, continuing to read. And I swear, something shifted about his scent. A thrill ran up my spine at the thought. “Definitely much to take notes on.”
“I’ve found I learn best by demonstration,” I say, unsure of where the sudden burst of confidence came from. But I decided then that I wanted him, and he was so clearly dangling himself in front of me like bait. So I decided I like to bite.
The shock is evident on his face but is quickly replaced with a wicked smile, full of the worst intentions. “As do I.” He sat the book behind himself, slowly lowering his body off the countertop as he surveyed me, waiting for silent permission to pounce, to devour his prey whole.
“I could use the practice,” I whisper, goosebumps racing across the surface of my skin, my senses heightened. A confirmation that I, too, wanted this.
His eyes darkened and his smile dropped as he quickly strode forward, plunging his arms into the bath, wrapping one around my back and the other underneath my bent knees. I screeched as he lifted me out of the water, flooding the floor and soaking himself as he pressed my naked body against his, bridal style.
He walked us to the bed, water and bubbles covering the both of us now. Before I could protest, he laid me back onto my bed, the water seeping into my blankets and sheets. But looking up at his gorgeous face, I couldn’t bring myself to care. He stood a step back, eyes raking and roaming over every inch of my body as if he wanted to memorize me.
“How long have you wanted me, sweet girl?” He asked. I almost scoff until I realize that he’s serious.
“Since I met you,” I admit, deciding not to play games. I was already so vulnerable underneath his erotic visual caresses.
“Was it me you were imagining? Reading in the bath, thinking about me doing all of those… dirty things to you?” He says, voice low and dark.
I nod slightly, blush blooming in my full cheeks. His hand lifts to caress the side of my face. He runs his thumb along my bottom lip, looking at me like I’m his last meal. My body feels like a livewire, skin buzzing and receptive to his touch.
“I’ve thought about it too,” he says breathily. “Though my thoughts may prove even dirtier.”
Before I can ask what he means, he leans forward, hands wrapping around the small of my waist as he lowers his lips to press a gentle kiss above my belly button, looking up at me as his lips touch my skin. My breath hitches, watching him in anticipation. Lifting his head again, he positions himself directly over me, hips pressing against me, my legs parted around his strong frame.
He stares into my eyes for a long moment as if trying to decipher me by looking inside them. His thumb strokes my cheek gently as I resist the urge to push my head into his hand and purr like a kitten. He will be my undoing. Every touch, every word, every look sets my very being on fire. Why did he have such a grip on me?
His hands roamed my body, my skin like clay under his touch, and he was the sculptor. My breathing quickened, my heart becoming a pounding hammer in my chest. His calloused and scarred hands starkly contrasted my soft and feminine surface. But he was much, much too clothed.
“I want to feel your skin against mine,” I whisper, hands running up his chest and down his leathered arms. He bends down to plant a slow and erotic kiss on my neck and moves to stand. My knees bent and legs hanging off the bed, I propped myself up on my elbows as I watched him reveal himself to me, bit by bit.
He shrugs his pants off, briefs going with them as he frees himself. My mouth goes dry. Cauldron boil me alive. He was huge. I wanted him so badly. He lowers himself to his knees, eyes in line with my knees, and gently wraps his hands around the underside of my calf, raising it so my leg was straight. He presses a deeply intimate and soft kiss to the side of my ankle.
“Aphrodite could not even sit at your table, my love,” He murmurs into my skin, slowly dropping my leg and standing between my knees, spread open for him.
I am practically panting with anticipation as his eyes lock with mine. I lift both my hands to reach for him as his hands find mine, both sets intertwining, fingers interlocking. He presses his weight slightly onto our conjoined hands, moving to lay on top of me again, knee pressing between my legs. The pressure makes me writhe, breathing heavier.
He lowers his perfect pink lips to mine, the feeling of them like velvet. He bites my lower lip, slowly dragging his teeth across it. My mouth opens for him and his tongue slides against mine, as he moans softly into my mouth, the sound almost a whimper. My back arches, pushing my chest closer to him, his nearness like a drug.
“What do you want?” He asks me, trying to drag words out of me.
“All of you,” I whine, wrapping my hands around his back to pull him closer to me, still not being near enough despite touching him. He groans in delicious approval.
"Ask me what I want."
"What do you want, Azriel?"
“I want to taste you,” he said, words breathy and needy. That sent a jolt right to the sensitive areas between my thighs.
“Please,” I begged, brows furrowed with want.
His response was to resume his attack on my neck with his mouth, pressing his hips down between mine harder, rocking against me slightly, and creating such wonderful friction had me throwing my head back, eyes rolling and a breathy moan falling from my lips. He hummed in response, the vibrations of his mouth against my skin sending goosebumps crawling across my skin. He continued his kisses, sliding down my body but being damn sure to take his time doing it. The anticipation was killing me, but gods his affection was glorious. He quite literally worshiped my body with his hands, tongue, and mouth. He reached the edge of the bed, planting one last slow kiss on my lower abdomen before he stood.
He gripped my hips and yanked me to the edge of the bed, a helpless yelp coming from me as he moves my body with such ease that it makes me lightheaded. He reaches forward and grips my neck underneath my jaw, gently pulling at me so I would sit up. The pout on my face is evident as his hand falls away from my neck. He chuckles at me, giving me a quick kiss before dropping down to his knees in front of me once more. Gods, the sight of him knelt before me sent a delicious chill up my spine. He was so unreasonably pretty. His hazel eyes dance as he looks up at me from under his thick lashes. He plants a kiss on both of my knees before pushing them apart, baring me to him. He let out a quiet groan at the sight of me, hand finding his painfully hard cock and providing some friction to ease the intense need that filled him. He gripped my throat again, pulling me down to meet his mouth. He kissed me intensely and sensually. Who was this male? Where had he been all my life?
He breaks away from our kiss, head twisting as he pulls one of my nipples into his mouth. He swirled his tongue around them, moaning as he continued to slowly pump himself. The sound had me arching for him, which had him chuckling again. He bites down softly on my nipple and I whimper, my pussy throbbing and desperate for him.
He switches to the other nipple, sucking and biting at it, raking incredibly explicit noises from me. Finally, he pulls back, his hair mussed from me lacing my fingers through it as I ground myself against him as much as I was able to. He pushes my knees apart further, putting a hand on the small of my back to pull me to the very edge of the bed. He lifted my feet one by one, placing them on the rails of the bed and leaving me entirely exposed to him. I moved to lay back but he bit my thigh. I cried out, looking at him incredulously.
“Keep looking at me.” It was a command, not a request. He was such a thrill. I obeyed, propping myself back up on my hands so I had a clear view of him. I gasped as he ran two fingers up my slit, gathering my wetness. And gods, was I wet for him. He lifted his fingers to his mouth, swirling his tongue around them, collecting all of me and letting out a deep moan at the taste of me. I felt myself growing continually wetter, my core aching for him.
“Azriel, please. I need you. Please touch me,” I whimpered, and I swear his eyes rolled back in his head at the sound. He turned his head and kissed my inner thigh before grinning back up at me. He leaned forward, eyes not leaving mine as he dragged the flat of his tongue all the way up my core, the feel of him such a relief I felt myself throbbing in anticipation of him.
He gave one more long lick before he went to work, suckling and swirling his warm and wet tongue against my clit as he eased one finger into me slowly. The glide of me had him desperate for any friction. He squeezed his cock with his free hand, begging himself to calm down so that this would last as long as possible. I bit my lip at the sight of him suckling at me, pleasuring himself to the taste and feel of me. I pressed my hips forward slightly, pressing his mouth harder into me. His eyes re-found mine in an instant and he hummed his approval as the hand that was on his cock moved to grip my hips, encouraging me to grind myself against him.
I was going to pass out. He was so sexy and I wanted him so badly and his tongue was quite literally cauldron-blessed. He added another finger then, pumping into me harder, dragging obscene moans from me. With every one of my moans, he hummed in return, sending vibrations to my clit and making me see stars. My head was swimming, sweat forming on my skin as he rode me to my high, my hands buried in his raven black hair and riding his face with fervor.
I came with a loud cry, my core squeezing around his fingers as he continued to pump into me, still sucking at my clit until it became painfully sensitive and I was squirming beneath him, and then he released me. He kissed the insides of both of my thighs, rising back up to his feet.
He placed the two fingers he had been pumping into me at my lips, pressing on my bottom lip so my mouth would open for him.
“Taste how well you did for me, little Valkyrie. You taste better than I ever dreamed,” he purred, pushing his fingers inside my mouth. I swirled my tongue around his fingers, his knees almost buckling as he groaned.
“I bet you taste even better,” I say, a devilish grin filling my face as I reach down for him. I grab his hip and pull him closer to me as I reach up to kiss him. Our tongues caress each other, exploring and devouring each other. I guide the tip of his cock through my folds. He glided against me with such ease he shuddered in reply with a string of murmured curse words.
“As tempting as having that pretty mouth wrapped around me sounds, I want you to ride me,” he panted, arms pressing into the bed on either side of me as I had a hand between us, rubbing him against myself. “Please.”
I wrapped myself around him, legs wrapping around his back. He lifted me, turning us and scooting back until he lay back on the bed with me on top of him. I leaned forward and sucked on his neck, his nails scraping down my back. I pushed my tongue in his mouth as I reached between us to line up his huge length with my entrance. I slowly sank down on him, a deep reverberating moan echoing through us both. He pulled me down onto his chest and kissed me slowly as he sat inside me not moving. Slowly, he pulled out and then rammed back into me. I whimpered into his mouth which earned a groan of approval from him. His mouth latched onto my nipple, swirling it on his tongue around me while I bounced on him. His hands roamed and praised my body with gripping and passionate touches.
He began to thrust up into me, meeting my own and creating a filthy, wet sound as we fucked each other with reckless abandon.
“You feel… so fucking good… FUCK…” He panted, hips still driving up to meet mine. I threw my head back in ecstasy, his hands rising to grip my breasts in his hands, squeezing roughly and kneading them between his huge hands.
“I could fuck you forever,” I gasp out.
“I’d beg on my knees for it,” he breathed, eyes shutting in pleasure, mouth open as he panted, nearing his climax as we continued with intense effort, both of us desperate to please the other. His thumb began to rub my clit as I slid up and down on his cock, making me throb around him, which sent him over his edge at the same time that I tumbled into mine.
We sang out in intense satisfaction, both coming together. He twitched inside me, cum dripping out of me from around his cock. I scooted downwards then, pulling him into my mouth and licking him clean as he groaned, hands laced in my hair.
“My filthy girl,” he purred to me, thumb rubbing across my bottom lip. I lifted my head, sitting up to look down at him. “You are dangerous. Now that I’ve had you, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop wanting you.”
“Good.” I grinned down at him, planting a kiss on his abs as I climbed off the bed. He whined in protest.
I reached my hands out to him, and he sat up to grip them in his own. “You’re invited, don’t worry.”
A sly grin covered his face at my words. I walked over to my shower, opened the glass door, and flicked the shower on, allowing it to heat. When it was a good enough temperature, I dragged the shadowsinger in after me, giggling as the door closed behind him and he began to kiss me again. His hands slid down to my thighs, lifting me with alarming ease as my legs wrapped around his center. I felt him harden against me again, his head buried in my neck as he started to laugh.
Summary// When Rhysand sends you and Azriel to visit the Day Court, Helion “mistakenly” only has one room for the two of you. Exhausted from your travels, you and Az brush off his half-hearted attempts at a solution and settle in for the night. That is until one of you breaks.
(This was an anon ask about an Azriel x Reader “one-bed” trope! I love this trope with my entire heart, and I struggled with choosing enemies to lovers or friends to lovers, but the latter won out in the end. For those of you wanting the third chapter of THATH, it is coming, I promise! I just needed to write something new to get my creative juices flowing. (NGL I kinda wanna write a part two to this??) As always, thank you so much for the love and support, and I hope you enjoy it!)
WARNINGS: SMUT, 18+ only, a lil bit of angst but mostly fluff, p in v, praise kink (slight), masturbation (female), eating out (f), multiple positions, mirrors, pretty soft for Azriel ngl
A Slight Inconvenience
The sun was currently setting in the sky when the two of you arrived at Helion’s home. It shouldn’t have taken as long as it had, but Azriel had a late start to the journey, which set everything back. He had said he needed to have a discussion with Rhysand before you left, but that ended up taking two hours.
“You okay?” You asked while giving him a sideways glance. The fiery colors that the final rays of the sun cast across the land seemed to paint onto his skin, stealing your breath away.
Azriel rolled his shoulders backwards while stretching out his wings, smiling as you both stopped in front of the golden doors. “Never better, princess.”
A roll of your eyes was your only response to the nickname he had coined for you. He had found you in the library one night, curled up and reading your favorite romance about a princess and a loathsome pirate falling in love, and he had not let you live it down since.
“A princess that can kick your-” You didn’t get to finish the sentence as the doors suddenly opened and Helion stood before you, a mischievous smile on his face as he held out his arms in welcome.
“My favorite emissaries! Did you have trouble finding me or did the two of you get tangled up somewhere?” Helion chuckled, his tone suggestive as he ushered you both inside. “Dinner was served earlier however I have no problem finding someone to whip something up for you two.”
You shook your head and smiled at him, not missing his eyes roaming both of you up and down. “That is very kind of you but we will be okay. If anything, we both just need a good night’s rest.”
Az nodded in agreement as Helion gave a small pout. You took in the magnificence of the walls and ceilings above you as the two men chatted about sleeping arrangements, admiring the artwork and details of everything.
“Do you not have any other rooms?” Azriel asked, voice agitated, which brought you back to them. “You can’t possibly be out of them all.”
Helion shrugged his shoulders while crossing his arms, not looking sorry at all as your brows furrowed in confusion. “What do you mean?” You chimed in as you joined your friend’s side.
“He only has one room for us. The others are apparently under construction or occupied.” Azriel complained as your lips turned down into a frown. Helion held up his hands innocently but you didn’t want this to turn sour already, especially since you were going to be seeing him all day tomorrow.
“It’s fine, Az. Let’s just go, one of us can take the floor.” You stressed while gesturing for Helion to lead the way. The Illyrian grumbled something under his breath but followed beside you, keeping his eyes locked on the man in front of you.
“I really am sorry for the inconvenience. I thought…” Helion began but quickly shut down whatever he was about to say, clicking his tongue. “Tomorrow I will see to it that you have separate rooms.”
“Thank you.” You responded gratefully. “We understand that things come up though, right Azriel?”
He shot you a sideways glare which you responded to with a raised brow. A low sigh left his lips as he nodded and said, “Yes.”
“Perfect!” Your host grinned, clapping his hands as you arrived to a room at the very end of the hall. “Here you are. If you have any trouble settling in, I will be in the library.”
Azriel didn’t waste time as he opened the doors and scoped out the room, leaving you with alone with Helion at the doorway. You gave him a sympathetic look and a soft smile, placing your hand on his shoulder and thanking him once more. He cast a glance at Az before bending down to your ear, whispering softly.
“If you need anything you know where to find me.”
You felt the heat rise on your cheeks as you bit the inside of your cheek, not seeing your friend’s shoulders tense at the intimate action. “Have a good night.” You whispered before hurrying inside, shutting the door behind you as Helion chuckled and walked away.
“What was that?” Azriel grunted, arms crossed.
“Helion being Helion.” You muttered as you unpacked your small bag, laying out your pajamas and clothes for tomorrow. He wasn’t going to drop the subject though, his voice taking on a teasing tone as he sat on the bed to watch you.
“You blushed.” He stated, making you huff out a laugh.
“And? I would imagine if some pretty woman came up to you and whispered in your ear you would get flustered just the same.” You pointed out.
“So you think he’s handsome?” Azriel taunted and you had to resist the urge to smack him in the face with the pillow.
“Can we just…not talk about this? I don’t want to sleep with him.” You sighed, rubbing your temples. It wasn’t like the two of you hadn’t talked about potential love interests or hookups before, hell you were there for him through most of his Mor era, but he was being oddly pushy about this.
“Oh come on, Y/N, I’m just teasing.” He apologized, rubbing the back of his neck. “I’m sorry.”
You studied him for a moment before nodding, patting his arm lovingly while ignoring the tight muscles under your fingers. “It’s fine. I’m just on edge, I think I might hop in the bath unless you want to go first?”
An unknown emotion flashed through his eyes but was gone in a flash, his fists tightening by his side as he suddenly grew distant. “No, go ahead. I’ll get my bed on the floor ready.”
Part of you wanted to prod about this sudden change in demeanor but your body was begging for hot water and rest so you decided to table the discussion for later. He was turned away from you as you opened the door to the bathroom. It was as grand as the rest of the place, the main feature being a giant clawfoot tub that was big enough for at least four people.
The floors were even marbled with gold and there were mirrors everywhere. It felt like you were in one of those romance books that Nesta reads. You shoved the thought away while making sure the doors closed behind you, noting how the doors were almost see-through with a light frost being the only barrier.
“Every room in this place is probably designed for sex.” You muttered while turning one of the knobs, feeling the water between your fingers to ensure it was hot enough.
Making quick work of your clothes you tossed them behind you while climbing into the steaming tub, almost moaning at the delicious burn. You slid all the way down until your entire body was covered and relaxed. This was what heaven was like. You were sure of it.
You didn’t wash yet, wanting to enjoy the soak as you made a mental list of everything that needed to be done tomorrow. Those thoughts drifted to today and then eventually to what happened a few moments ago, Azriel’s mood change having you worried.
Did you say something wrong? Was he upset he had to sleep on the floor? Or about Helion? The last question made you laugh. Never in a million years would he be jealous of Helion, especially with you. He saw you as a friend, maybe even a sister, and nothing more.
Even if you wanted more…
No. No. You scowled as you reprimanded yourself for that thought. Azriel was your best friend and even if you had a crush on him, you weren’t going to entertain it. You weren’t even his type and he had literally every woman in Velaris in the palm of his hand. He could have anyone.
The thought stung, making you grab your bathing supplies to try and scrub them away. Your skin was raw by the time you were done and your heart was aching. It pissed you off, you had been doing so well in ignoring these feelings and yet you had allowed yourself to think he could be jealous, sending you right back into the pit again.
You stood and drained the tub, grabbing a towel and wrapping it around yourself before walking back into the bedroom. Azriel had indeed made a spot for himself, extra sheets and blankets sprawled out by the balcony, but that’s not what caught your attention.
He had already stripped down to his leathers, chest bare and wings tucked in as he waited for you. The moon was just rising in the sky and the whole scene was like something out of your darkest dreams. You had to remind yourself to breathe as you looked everywhere but him.
“Bathroom’s free, have at it.” You mumbled with a white-knuckled grip on the towel. Azriel turned to you, surprised to see you out that fast, only to stop midstep. His eyes roamed your frame slowly, trailing the small beads of water that were still dripping down your leg as you fiddled with your pajamas.
There was a small grunt of acknowledgment before he stalked to the bathroom, almost slamming the door off its hinges as he shut it. You were just thankful for the silence, taking in a gulping breath while throwing your pajamas on as quickly as possible.
You could finally relax when you heard the water turn on, cursing under your breath as the image of him burned in your mind. The entire day had been fine until now, your body aching with need as your thoughts turned dirty.
It had been a while since you had sex with someone or yourself. You were busy with this or that, trying to catch up on sleep whenever possible, and feeling guilty when your thoughts drifted to a certain Illyrian who was currently bathing himself.
Surely you could allow yourself this small reprieve, right?
One of your hands ghosted down your chest as you imagined his large hands soaping up his arms, his chest, and his stomach. They would go down lower and lower until he got his cock, not being able to resist the urge to tease himself which would make him groan out.
Your panties were already wet when you got down to them, all rational thought being left at the door as you slid a single digit down your sex. It immediately had your back arching off the bed, the pad of your finger circling your clit to tease you just like Azriel was teasing himself.
The thought had you closing your eyes, wanting to lose yourself in the fantasy as much as you could. He would groan out your name, standing up to get a better angle as his nostrils flared. You could see the muscles of his neck tighten as he spat on his dick, fucking into his hand as he imagined it was you.
And just as he was doing that in your thoughts, you were starting to fuck yourself in return. Two of your fingers were thrusting in and out of you sloppily, the heel of your hand pressing on your clit as you rutted up, wishing it was Azriel’s cock instead.
You could already feel yourself getting close, and the man in your head was also. His wings were now flared out as he growled your name, head falling back as he spilled his seed into the air. A sharp intake of breath and you were on the edge, biting down so hard on your tongue to keep from calling out. It was within your grasp.
Until you heard the bathtub drain.
Shame traveled down your spine like ice water as you scrambled up to fix your appearance, wiping the wetness that coated your fingers beside you while your heart hammered in your chest. There was some rustling in the bathroom before the doors opened and Azriel emerged with a towel slung low on his hips, water still dripping from his head.
It took every fiber of your being to remain calm, looking up at him like you hadn’t just imagined him masturbating. You could have sworn he knew, his eyes dark as he looked around suspiciously.
“Are you okay?” He asked, eyes flickering down to the rumpled sheets around your waist.
“Never better.” You squeaked, clearing your throat immediately while clenching your thighs as tight as you could. “Was your bath good?”
“Never better.” He echoed back, grabbing his sleep clothes. You took the cue and turned away, rubbing a hand over your face to get a grip on your emotions. Azriel was the spymaster, he could read people like a book, and the last thing you wanted was for him to find out about this stupid crush.
“You ready?” His voice was dangerously low, and you almost snapped your neck looking back at him, face flushed.
“What?” Your voice was barely above a whisper, swearing his tone was borderline suggestive, but any trace of that was nowhere to be found on his face.
“I said are you ready for bed?” Azriel clarified, bending down to fix his ‘bed’.
There was no way you were making it out tonight alive. He was going to give you a heart attack and send you straight to the Mother.
“Oh, uh, yes.” You faltered, reaching over to switch off the lamp. “Are you sure you’re okay sleeping on the floor? I don’t mind switching.”
Azriel just waved you off, mumbling something about the Illyrian camps before resting his head and closing his eyes. You watched him for a few seconds before settling in yourself, watching the curtains flutter in the night’s breeze and closing your eyes.
It had been two hours now and you had barely been able to close your eyes. Every time you did, you saw him there. He was haunting you twenty-four seven now while you tossed and turned for the hundredth time. You were begging for sleep to claim you but your body was more interested in the ache that still lie between your legs.
Azriel was asleep, or at least seemed like it, but you didn’t want to risk it. If he saw or heard you, it would mortify you. Both of your legs kept rubbing and pressing against each other to try and gain some friction but it was only making you tenser.
You huffed and threw the blankets off your body, welcoming the night chill as you quietly got up and tiptoed to the bathroom. A cold glass of water should help. You just needed to be silent so as not to wake him.
The water was a welcome distraction as you gulped it down greedily, placing the glass beside you before deciding to splash some on your face. It cooled your skin slightly but not enough for any real change.
His voice behind you made your jump and scream, your hand flying over your mouth as you whirled to face him. Azriel watched you with amusement as you gathered yourself from nearly being scared to death.
“Stars above, Az. Don’t sneak up on me like that.” You snapped while grabbing a towel to pat your face down. “Why are you awake?”
“You keep tossing and turning, then you got up. Just checking on you.” He said sincerely, licking his lips. “Bad dreams?”
Ha. If he only knew.
“No, fuck, I’m sorry.” You fumbled. “I didn’t mean to keep you up.”
He took a step towards you and gently grabbed your hand. You look into his eyes and almost melt at the concern, guilt eating you alive. “Talk to me, princess.” Azriel pressed, the heat coming from his body making it hard for you not to press up against him.
You wanted to tell him everything, confess your sins and rid yourself of these thoughts that were keeping you awake, but you couldn’t. It would be unbearable if he pushed you away. So, you lie.
“I’m just stressed, don’t worry. I promise I am fine.” It flew off your tongue with ease, but he wasn’t buying it.
The grip on your hand tightened as his eyes narrowed. “Don’t lie to me, Y/N.”
All you had to do was tell him your feelings, it was right there. Your pulse was fluttering under his fingertips as you take shallow breaths, trying to ground yourself.
“I-I can’t. I’m sorry.” You whispered, head bowing as you stared at the floor trying to will him to go back to bed. Maybe the two of you could pretend this never happened if he just let you go.
A finger pulled your chin up until you were staring into those gorgeous hazel eyes. He was a hairsbreadth away from your lips, both of your noses brushing against each other as the smell of him overwhelmed your sense.
“I heard you earlier…while I was in the bath.” Azriel confessed, voice dangerously low. “Who were you thinking of? Helion?”
“No.” You answered immediately, cheeks hot. “No, not Helion.”
Azriel’s shoulders seemed to relax at that, but the tension was still there, charging up like a lightning storm. He took another step which had your back hitting the sink, leaving you nowhere to run.
You swallowed thickly, your throat suddenly dry as you searched his eyes for any indication he was angry. However, he was as masked as always, leaving you nothing but your gut to go on.
“You know who.” You murmured, goosebumps rising on your skin as his other hand came to rest on your hip. His fingers were almost scalding hot as they dug in as if he was using all of his strength not to pounce.
“Say it.” Was his only reply, eyes never leaving yours. You felt lightheaded as all of the tension between the two of you finally came to a head, pupils blown wide as you breathed his name into the air.
His nostrils flared as he grasped your face and kissed you as you had never been kissed before, those scarred hands caressing your face as you melted into his arms. He groaned against your lips as you swiped your tongue across his own, opening for you so that you could deepen the kiss.
Both of your hands came up to the back of his head, grasping onto his hair while trying to pull him impossibly closer. You could swear your heart was going to burst out of your chest at what was happening, that fire returning to your body with the force of a thousand suns.
Suddenly his hands left your face to grab your hips, hoisting you onto the counter but making sure his mouth never left yours. You pulled away to catch your breath, eyeing the string of saliva that connected you, but Azriel had other ideas.
Those plush lips of his trailed across your face and onto your neck, sucking and biting as he pleased. Your nails scratched against the marble at the sensation, arching into his touch as he growled into your throat. He quickly found that spot behind your ear, the spot that had you moaning his name.
“You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to hear that from you.” He cooed into your ear, biting your earlobe, before continuing his journey down your neck.
The thought of him dreaming of this, of you, just as you did had your stomach filling with butterflies. You felt him stop at your pajama top and when you lifted your head to help him, a loud rip sounded out across the bathroom. Buttons flew every which way as the remains of your top fell to the floor.
Azriel paid no mind, cupping each breast in his hand while biting his lip. He glanced up at you, and you nodded, groaning when he pinched the pebbled nipples in between his fingers.
“Fuck.” You cried, closing your eyes as he took the left one into his mouth and lazily sucked. It could be your denied orgasm from earlier, but it felt as if every nerve was on fire.
You looked up in ecstasy as he switched, noticing the mirrors that also occupied the ceiling. He had you high on the counter and the sight of him devouring your breasts, wings slightly spread, had you coating the sink with your wetness.
He pulled away while taking a deep breath, smelling your arousal. It made him feel drunk, and when he followed your gaze, he couldn’t stop the feral grin from forming.
“Do you enjoy watching me play with you, princess?” He teased, pulling your forward until your ass was hanging off the counter. You blushed fiercely when you saw him watching you, but Azriel just clicked his tongue, lifting your hips so he could remove your panties and pants.
“Watch.” He ordered, one of his hands pressing you down onto the cool marble until you were flat. You felt him lift your legs over his shoulders, brushing against those massive wings, and when you lifted your head to watch him, he lightly slapped the inside of your thigh.
A small wince of pain flared up, but when he pointed up, you realized what he wanted you to do. You laid your head back down and watched from the mirror, seeing him grip your thighs and yank them apart.
His nose came to the folds of your cunt, and he breathed deep, growling at the scent before he dived into your slickness. You had no time to prepare yourself as a loud cry left your mouth, hips trying to rise up in pleasure. Azriel was relentless in his pace, licking and sucking on your clit like it was his favorite meal.
The mirror gave you more pleasure on top of what was already happening, watching the muscles along his back and arms move and tense as he moaned into your pussy. Your own hands came to grasp at your tits, tugging your nipples as two of his fingers nudged your entrance.
It was all happening so fast, but you were thankful for that, not wanting time to think about how this decision could affect things later on. He pulled himself away from your juices just as he thrust those fingers in, watching your face in the mirror as your eyebrows scrunched in pleasure.
“Please, please…” You whined, feeling your walls clench around him as he curled and scissored to his heart's content. Azriel’s face appeared above your own as he continued to fuck you with those long digits, taking in every reaction.
“What do you want, Y/N?” He snarled, his eyes incredibly dark as you started to approach the edge.
“I-just, please!” You gasped, grinding into his hand as he licked the taste of you off his lips. “I need to cum. Please, Azriel, please let me cum.”
He groaned in satisfaction from your words, speeding up while digging the heel of his palm into your clit. That plus your grinding had you right there, your eyes starting to roll back just as he whispered, “Good fucking girl, princess.”
Your voice went hoarse from your scream, his name and other profanities babbling out as you had the best orgasm of your life. Azriel’s hand never left your cunt as you quaked and shivered underneath him, his mouth biting down on your shoulder as you rode out your orgasm.
After you quieted down, he slowed his pace, the wetness making a wet squelching sound as you tried to regain control of your breathing. He withdrew his hand entirely after a few moments and lifted you from the counter, carrying you bridal style back into the bedroom and sitting you on the bed.
You sat up slowly just to watch him undo his bottoms, the moonlight casting a large shadow across the room. Azriel watched you with an insatiable hunger as they fell to the floor, grasping his cock in his hands.
It was big, the biggest you had ever had, and you felt drool collecting on the corner of your mouth. You crawled over to try to take him into your mouth, but he shook his head, grasping your throat while pulling you up to your knees.
“No, not tonight. I want to feel that cunt around me.” Azriel said, kissing you hungrily before laying you back down on the bed. It was soft underneath you, and when he climbed on top, those dark wings spread until it felt like the two of you were the only ones in the world.
He wasted no time lining himself up with you, coating the head of his cock until it was soaked with your cum. You placed a hand on his chest right before he pushed in, pulling his face down so that you could kiss him once more.
Azriel sighed into the kiss and pressed himself into you inch by inch, cursing at the tightness and warmth of your pussy. You hissed at the stretch but didn’t dare ask him to stop, resting your hands on his shoulders as he bottomed out inside of you.
“Are you okay?” He asked, barely keeping it together. You nodded and he smiled, kissing you once more in a tender moment before he pulled out almost entirely and then thrust back in.
You gasped as he hit your cervix, nails digging into his skin as he set a slow, deep pace. His forehead pressed against yours as he shuddered into your chest, trying not to destroy you as the headboard creaked underneath his grip.
“Faster, Az.” You moaned into his ear, sucking the shallow part of his throat that had his resolve crumbling in seconds. He rose up on his knees, lifting your hips in his hands, and fucked you like he truly wanted to.
His balls were slapping against your ass at a brutal pace, but it had you losing your mind, the angle making him hit that sweet spot every single time. You cried out and tried to find something to hold onto as his lips curled back in feral delight, enjoying seeing you fucked out like this.
“Look at you, Y/N,” Azriel growled, his shadows curling over his shoulders as he started to lose himself in the sensation of you. “You’re taking me so well, so deep.”
A nod was your only response before he suddenly pulled out and flipped you onto your stomach, raising your ass high and reentering you with ease. You grabbed blindly at the pillow in front of you, but he was quicker, throwing it behind him with a dark laugh.
“Don’t hide those sounds from me, princess. I want to hear you say who’s doing this to you.”
One of his hands slapped your ass, kneading it in his hand as he threw his head back in ecstasy. He was close, and you were too, drunk on his cock as you moaned at his name. “Azriel is, you are, please-” You choked, feeling his cock twitch at your cries.
“I want you to cum with me, do you understand?” He groaned, feeling his balls tighten as you already started to clamp down on him. “I want you to scream my name for the entire court to hear.”
And with those few final thrusts, you obeyed without question, screaming at the top of your lungs as he filled you with his hot cum. You heard him call out your name as he finished inside you, hips stuttering as the grip on your hip tightened hard enough to bruise.
You felt the cum leaking out around his dick as he finally came down, your body so overstimulated that you practically collapsed on the bed. Azriel pulled out of you with a smirk, enjoying the way your hole tried to keep him inside before rolling over to your other side.
“Y/N?” He whispered, peeking over only to see you fast asleep.
His heart fluttered at the sight, something so domestic about it, as he got up and wiped you down, pulling your panties back up and tucking you in beside him. Azriel knew tomorrow would be full of talking and you trying to apologize, but for now, he just wanted to enjoy this moment with you in his arms.
a/n: hello, lovelies!! 😇 I took an edible, and this came out from within my soul. This is barely edited and super short… whoops. 😬 But, I saw someone post the other day in search of Azriel content with shadow play, and I’ve been thinking about that ever since. Here you go! Enjoy! 🤗🏻
warnings: smut, sensory/erogenous zone play, shadow play, sleepy sex, overstimulation kind of (f. receiving), and softdom vibes
Your eyes felt heavy, every so often they would slip shut only to be jolted awake. That familiar tug in your chest soothing you back to sleep. His chest was currently pressed up against your back while you both laid on your side on the bed, one hand cushioning your neck as the other torturing your naked figure.
A teasing hand traces your ribs leaving you riddled with goosebumps and slightly gasping for air. You want to thrash away from those lovely, tortuous hands.
Curl away from them, but you force yourself to curl into them.
To endure it because it feels so overwhelmingly pleasurable. His hands gliding up to circle your nipples. Your nipples have always been an erogenous zone, eliciting little gasps and moans to escape your lips. Always making your hips start to buck in search of friction. Instinctively, you reach a hand back and grasp at his neck, threading your fingers through his silky black hair in order to lock you two together.
“Stop being so cruel…” you sigh, tightening your grip in his hair, a pout gracing your lips. A scarred finger traces down the front of your stomach. The place you are the most ticklish… as his finger lowers, your abs clench in anticipation of his destination. You can’t help but mewl, whining out a breathless, “pleeease.”
Your pleas only earn you a throaty chuckle, “stop being so needy…” Azriel growls softly at the back of your ear. In a shiver of pleasure, you arch your back, pressing your butt against his hard member. He starts to slowly thrust once his cock settles snugly between your cheeks, grunting lightly.
Suddenly, you feel that familiar shadowy presence along your skin, immediately recognizing the tingle of the comforting darkness.
They start to trace along your skin like his fingers, honing in on the particularly sensitive areas. Within seconds, you are quivering. A ball of pleasure, almost too overwhelming.
That ache in your core becoming too much to bare, you beg, “inside me… please. Put it inside me…. Wa-wanna…”.
“Okay, sweet girl. Okay…,” he interrupts soothingly as his tip swipes at the wetness between your legs. His voice turning a bit more rough, “I’ll fill you right up, (y/n),” he growls possessively, his arms wrapping around you. Holding you just the way he wants you.
Your body completely exhausted, all you want is a release. “But, I’m so tired. I-I- don’t know… I-if I can move,” you manage to get out drowning in sleepy bliss. You want to cum, but you can barely keep your eyes open. Knowing exactly what you need, his hand strokes along your head, “I’ll take care of you, my love, just relax…,” cock pushing inside of you slowly.
Inch by inch. Filling you up deliciously. The head of his cock massaging against that spot that has you whimpering, out of breath. Once he’s full sheathed inside you, you feel his shadows start to play with your clit. You gasp as the motion feels exactly as if it’s his tongue licking you.
The shadows increase their pace, wiggling back and forth vigorously while adding a bit more pressure. Your breath catches, eyes rolling back as the pleasure turns hot and you feel yourself clench around his cock. He groans slightly thrusting a bit more inside, his shadows beginning to vibrate.
A searing hot pleasure shoots through your body, tensing as you cum hard, his arms wrapped around you tighten bracing you for the pleasure he was bringing you.
Your core beginning to pulse, milking his cock as you rock back against him. Squeezing him until you are just left twitching every once in a while.
Collecting your breath, eyes closed, you feel so high. Carefree, drunk on pleasure, you let him continue thrusting.
Just taking the overwhelming sensation, Azriel groans in your ear, “I’m close, sweet girl. I’m cumming inside that adorable, perfect pussy,“ he purrs into your ear. A couple more thrusts and he paints your walls, his seed warming you from within. Coming to a stop, Azriel slowly pulls out of your warmth, the both of you hissing softly at the disconnect.
The last thing you hear is “go to sleep my love, I’ll take care of you.” Your mind going fuzzy and in utter bliss, your brain finally allows you to fall asleep.
(thank you so much for reading this far! much love 🤍)
Request: “(Y/N) is the youngest Archeron sister and Azriel knows that she’s his mate when he first meets her in the human lands (but obviously she doesn’t feel it bc she’s only human at that point) and then maybe continue to when she’s kidnapped/turned into fae in Hybern/she realizes he’s her mate as well??”
Warnings: depictions of violence and pain, swearing
Word Count: 4.6k
A/N: One of my favorite Azriel requests ever. Very fun to write! As a small life update, I am safe and enjoying Spain very much. Love you all and hope you enjoy reading :)
Feyre had been gone for nearly a year when she returned to the estate from beyond The Wall. Of course, you hadn’t been home when she arrived, and had learned from Nesta later that afternoon.
You were the youngest Archeron sister - a year younger than Feyre - and had focused all your energy on school after your father regained his fortune. Not knowing how to read or write or do basic math had been your largest shame during your years in the cottage. There was no way for you to help other than helping skin the animals Feyre brought back, and even then you lacked the skills necessary to help her sell them at the market. You were determined not to let your family fall into such a situation again, and saw your education as the only way to guarantee that. You’d caught up rather quickly, and hoped that one day you’d be able to go to school in Neva and become a clerk or a banker.
That was where you’d been when Feyre had arrived. You could tell something had happened when you returned - there was a heavy tension in the air. Nesta was sitting on your bed waiting for you, her face set in stone, her shoulders stiff. You gave her a quizzical look as you closed the door behind you.
“You alright?” you asked, dropping your bag on the ground.
“Feyre’s here.” She spoke as if it were some common fact.
Your eyes widened as you turned around again, reaching for the doorknob “Why didn’t you say so-”
“Y/N don’t!” Nesta commanded, standing up from the bed and ignoring the bewildered expression on your face. “Do not open that door-”
“Why the fuck not?” you half-shouted, scoffing when Nesta stiffened at your words. “We haven’t seen her in months, you don’t get to keep me from seeing her.”
“She’s a faerie now.”
“What?” you asked slowly.
“Feyre has been…changed, into a Fae. And she’s brought three of them with her.” There was an underlying pain in Nesta’s voice. “I thought you should know before you saw her.”
You could practically hear your heart pounding. “Are you sure?” you asked finally. “Are you positive?” Nesta nodded.
You gulped, brows furrowing. “Well, she’s still our sister,” you started, “and I’d like to say hi.”
“I swear, Y/N, if you walk out of this room-”
You rolled your eyes at Nesta, pushed the door open and stalked into the hallway.
“Please shut up, Nesta!” you called over your shoulder, heading in the direction of the guest room.
You knocked once, twice on the door, rocking back and forth on your feet as you waited. “Feyre?” you called. “Nesta said you were here…”
Your voice trailed off as the door opened slowly and Feyre’s head popped out from behind it. Your eyes widened, taking in the pointed ears, the tattoo on her hand, the nervous look on her face…
You pulled her into a tight embrace, your sister’s words dying on her lips. She let out a relieved sigh and wrapped her arms around you. “I missed you,” you whispered. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
“I was afraid you wouldn’t be,” Feyre murmured. “Nesta sure isn’t.”
“Sucks to be her,” you replied, grinning when Feyre giggled. You pulled back, inspecting her carefully. “You look healthy,” you noted. “And the ears look fabulous.”
“You really think so?” Feyre asked with a small grin. You nodded eagerly.
Your gaze trailed to the room behind Feyre, eyes widening at the sight of three very tall, very intimidating men with…
“Are those wings?” you asked incredulously, staring at the two donning bat-like wings and dark armor. Feyre chuckled nervously as the one with longer hair gave you a charming grin.
“They are indeed,” he said, spreading his wings out behind him to show you better. The red jewels on his armor gleamed.
“Feyre, who is this?” asked the third man. This one didn’t have wings, but instead a pair of intense purple eyes.
“My younger sister, Y/N.”
You waved hesitantly. “I’m assuming you’re all faeries, too?” They nodded. You cast a glance at the other winged man leaning against the bed frame. His hair was shorter, and the jewels on his armor were blue instead of red. He was also shrouded in a dark, twisting haze.
“I didn’t know you had a younger sister,” the one with longer hair said. He looked a little offended.
“Well, I didn’t know you existed either,” you shrugged. “Rather unfortunate.”
Feyre rolled her eyes as the man chuckled. “Feyre, I like her.”
“Y/N, this is Cassian,” your sister said. The man gave you a quick wave. “And that’s Rhysand…” (another wave from the man with purple eyes) “...and Azriel.” Azriel gave you a faint smile before looking back down at the carpet.
“Well, hello,” you said shyly. “Welcome to our home.”
Rhysand chuckled. “That’s the first nice thing we’ve heard since coming here.”
“My sisters are a little less…fond of faeries,” you explained apologetically. “I’m sorry if Nesta was a lot to deal with.”
“No need for apologies,” Rhysand said dismissively.
You turned to your sister. “Will the four of you be joining us for dinner?”
“Yes, as long as Nesta doesn’t throw us out before then,” Feyre joked. You grinned.
“That’s bound to be entertaining.”
At dinner you sat next to Azriel, cautiously eating your soup as you watched the drama between your older sisters with wide eyes. Every once in a while Cassian would interject with something funny and you would laugh, only for Nesta to silence you with a pointed glare. You thought the tension between him and your eldest sister was quite comical.
“So, you don’t have a problem with us?”
You looked over at Azriel and shook your head. “No, not really. I was afraid of you all when I was growing up, but once Feyre came back the first time I figured you couldn’t be all bad. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have been so desperate to leave again.” You bit your lip, remembering the day she’d left again for Prythian. Azriel seemed to notice the change in your mood.
“Did you miss her?” he asked. You nodded.
“I love her, more than anything,” you said. “But it hurt. It felt like she was choosing another life over us…” You shook your head. “But there was nothing left for her here. And I’m happy she found you all.”
Azriel nodded, chewing a forkful of potatoes thoughtfully. “We’re happy to have her.”
Your attention was drawn once more to Nesta, whose face had turned a furious shade of red at Cassian’s incessant remarks.
“But she hates us?” Azriel asked again.
“Oh, yes,” you said with a nod. “Completely.”
“Noted.” A beat. “And your other sister?”
“Elain doesn’t hate,” you explained, glancing at your other sister sitting quietly next to Nesta. “But she definitely isn’t a huge fan. And her fiancé, well, he’s like Nesta but ten times worse.”
“I’ll avoid him then,” Azriel said, pushing his empty plate forward and turning slightly to look at you. “And you…Feyre doesn’t talk about any of you much, but she hasn’t mentioned you at all.”
You shrugged. “She’s always been protective of me. I think she’s just doing what she wishes Nesta had done for her.”
Azriel nodded, understanding. “She’s been through some tough situations, I understand why she’d make an effort to keep you out of it.”
You spared Feyre a glance. “She’s the strongest of all of us.”
“Well, definitely of her, Nesta, and Elain,” Azriel remarked. “But I know nothing of you, so I can’t judge entirely.”
You grinned shyly. “There’s not really much to know.”
He raised an eyebrow skeptically. “I’m sure that’s not true. What do you like to do?”
“I like to read, I guess,” you said with a shrug.
“You can read?” Azriel asked, a confused look on his face. “But Feyre…”
“I didn’t learn until after she left,” you explained. “I used the money to get a tutor, and then I started going to school when I caught up to the people my age.”
He looked surprised. “That’s a lot to accomplish in a year.”
“Well, it’s kind of a necessary skill, you know? When we were starving in the woods, all I could think was that if I knew how to write or do math I could get a job and help Feyre provide for us all, but I couldn’t.” You scratched the back of your neck, a little embarrassed. “All I do now is study. I never want to be in a position like that again.”
“I understand,” Azriel said, giving you a small smile. “I know what it’s like to be forced into a compromising situation. And now you have the ability to keep yourself out of it, and so you’re working as hard as you can for that.”
You blinked, a little shocked by how well he understood you, and nodded. “Yes, exactly,” you whispered.
“What do you like to study?” he asked, leaning back in his chair and taking a drink of his water.
You cleared your throat, rubbing your hands together nervously. “I like math a lot. I want to go study it more in one of the big cities, where they have whole institutions for it and stuff.”
“What do you want to do with that?” Azriel asked, genuinely interested.
“Well, I’ll probably become a banker or something, but I think I’d really love to study astronomy.”
Azriel bit back a grin. “I think you’d enjoy watching the sky at night in the city where I live.”
“Really?” you asked.
He nodded. “If Nesta ever lets you come visit, I’d love to show you.”
“I think I’d really like that,” you replied with a hopeful grin.
There was something about the Mortal Queens that left you completely unnerved. The way they seemed more than willing to sacrifice the Mortal Lands in Prythian, the way they seemed rooted in their decision before Rhysand and Morrigan had even begun speaking. It was like their visit was performative - like they wanted you all to think they cared, but really they only valued their own power and wellbeing. They could care less how you all fared in a fight with Hybern.
And these realizations left you shaking. You were terrified, scared for your family and your home, scared for the faerie folk north of The Wall that you’d just begun caring for. Your hands had begun to tremble in the middle of the meeting, and you hadn’t been able to stop it. You’d clasped them behind your back, gripped the chair in front of you, all to no avail.
Azriel had noticed. He’d been standing behind you, and moved up to your side when he noticed how anxious you were getting. He gave you a look that asked Are you alright?, to which you gave a dismissive shake of your head. But the Spymaster saw right through you, and took one of your hands in his and squeezed it reassuringly.
This had worked, for a little while. You allowed yourself to become distracted by the hand that held yours, which you were now seeing ungloved for the first time. You were taken aback by the scars, and wondered what awful things he’d had to endure to get them, but thought they made him seem more strong and beautiful than before.
Unfortunately, even with Azriel holding your hand, by the end of the meeting you were shaking again. The minute the Mortal Queens vanished into thin air you rushed out of the living room, hurrying off to your room as tears welled in your eyes and slamming the door behind you before anyone could hear you cry.
You collapsed against the wall, sobbing and shaking in defeat. Feyre would be the first lost to Hybern if they attacked, but in the end all of you would be killed in this war that seemed so sure to happen.
There was a soft knock on the door.
“Y/N, please can I come in?”
“It’s unlocked,” you tried to say, voice wavering more than you wished it would. You wished you could be like Feyre, you wished you could be strong.
Azriel was in your room in an instant, crouching in front of you and clasping your shoulders. “Y/N, look at me.”
You brought your eyes up to his and inhaled sharply, transfixed by the emotion on his face.
“You are going to be fine,” he said, his voice deep and smooth and comforting.
“You and Nesta and Elain are going to be fine. And Feyre is going to be fine. Cassian and Rhysand and I would face Hybern ourselves and die before letting anything happen to the four of you.”
You let out a strangled, desperate noise, and Azriel’s face broke.
“But I don’t want anything to happen to you, either,” you sobbed.
“Y/N.” His voice was no more than a whisper.
And then Azriel was holding you to him, your face pressed into his shoulder and his into your hair as you clung to him wildly.
“I don’t want to lose you,” you whispered, relishing in the warmth of him and the feel of his hands caressing your back. You feared you’d never see him again, that you’d never feel him again. And more than anything, you feared you’d never get the chance to figure out what these feelings meant.
“You won’t,” he said, “I promise you won’t.” And you almost wanted to believe him.
When you regained consciousness, Elain was being dragged towards a cauldron in the middle of the room. And there was screaming, so much screaming…
There were your sisters, and Feyre and Rhys and the members of the Night Court, and the blonde woman who had showed up at your house and-
Nesta was screaming, clawing and thrashing and shouting for Elain. You went to stand up, only to be held down by a man with yellow hair and green eyes.
“Ah, the youngest is awake.” A cold, sinister voice. And then Feyre shouting, and someone else shouting, and oh god there was Azriel’s body, limp on the floor.
You shrieked, struggling as you tried to free yourself.
“Tamlin, make sure the girl is watching. She’ll be next, after all.”
The man wrestled you into an upright position, his hand on your jaw forcing your head forward. You watched as Elain was dunked in the Cauldron, tears streaming down your face, and gasped when she emerged completely different.
And then you realized, they were turning you into High Fae.
You screamed as Tamlin pushed you forward, digging your heels into the ground to try and push back.
“You’re so tedious.” The cold voice again. You scanned the room, eyes settling on a crowned man with the darkest eyes you’d ever seen. “The struggle isn’t worth it, you might as well go with some dignity.”
Feyre screamed, and you grimaced, pushing back again. It was no use.
You began to sob as Tamlin dragged you closer to the cauldron, begging for him to stop. You could’ve sworn you saw Azriel twitch where he lay on the ground.
And then Tamlin was hoisting you up, ignoring your screams as he pitched you into the Cauldron. You closed your eyes, hoping whatever would happen would be done quickly.
Cold. The first thing you noticed, and then searing pain. You cried out, pushing yourself up from the bottom of the Cauldron only for someone’s hand to push you back down.
The cold liquid turned blazing hot around you, energy coursing through your body as you changed, limbs stretching and heart pounding and skin searing.
And then someone was pulling you up, hoisting you out of the water.
You felt dizzy, and everything was blurry. You could make out Nesta’s face, fire in her eyes and she screamed, but you couldn’t hear her. And there was Feyre, face dreadfully pale. And Azriel, who was trying to push himself up off the floor, face twisting with pain as his eyes met yours. The first thing you heard was his strangled cry as he tried to reach out for you.
Tamlin let go of you, and you stood on your own for a moment, swaying, before collapsing onto the floor. Nesta roared.
“Well, that took longer than expected,” the cruel man laughed. “The Cauldron took more time with you than your sister, huh?”
You couldn’t even bring yourself to scream, blinking in confusion as you looked down at your own hands, suddenly so unfamiliar. You felt so defeated, sitting there on the ground as Nesta was dragged kicking and screaming to her fate.
Silence. Nesta was in the Cauldron. You slumped forward in defeat, head reeling as the Inner Circle struggled to reach you and your sisters. The last thing you saw before losing consciousness again was Azriel’s panic-stricken face.
You woke up in an unfamiliar room, in perhaps the comfiest bed you’d ever been in. You moved to sit up, grimacing at the pounding in your head, and inhaled sharply as memories flooded you. You looked down at your hands, noticing the slight differences in the way they looked and in the way you were seeing them, and realized it hadn’t been a dream.
You blinked again, trying to adjust to the heightened details your senses were picking up, the textures of furniture and sounds of birds chirping outside your window. It was all very overwhelming.
As if on cue, the door opened and in stepped Azriel, looking a bit worse for wear. His eyes, underlined by dark circles, widened upon seeing you sitting upright, and he rushed over to the bed.
“Y/N,” he breathed, sitting down next to you carefully and cradling your face in his hands. You let yourself fall into him, allowed yourself to relax in his touch as he wrapped his arms around you.
“Hi,” you squeaked, nuzzling into his chest. He pulled back, brown eyes darting up and down as he inspected you.
“When did you wake up?” he asked softly.
“Just now,” you replied, twisting your head to stretch your neck. “How…how long was I asleep?”
“A couple of days,” he answered, a grimace on his face. You nodded, not quite knowing what to say.
“Where’s Feyre?” you asked finally.
“In the Spring Court,” Azriel answered, shoulders slumping slightly. “With Tamlin.”
You scoffed. “The asshole who dragged me into the Cauldron.”
“That’s the one,” he said with a half-hearted chuckle. You scowled.
“What’s she doing there?” you asked. “I thought she was, you know, with Rhys.”
“She is,” Azriel said, looking up at you. “Feyre is not only Rhysand’s mate, but the High Lady of the Night Court. She’s alive and well, and spying on Tamlin for us.”
Your eyes widened, nodding slowly. “That’s certainly a promotion,” you stated, trying to process what Azriel had just told you. “Good for her.”
Azriel laughed, an exhausted and relieved laugh, and pulled you in for another hug.
“Gods, Y/N,” he breathed into your hair. “I didn’t think I’d ever get to hold you again.”
You nodded, not trusting yourself to speak as you snaked your arms around his torso.
“What happened to me?” you asked, voice no more than a whisper.
“Ianthe…the priestess who works with Tamlin, she kidnapped you from your home.” Azriel’s voice was thick with emotion, and you bit your lip as he pulled you closer to him. “And then she brought you to Hybern, where we were ambushed trying to remove the Cauldron’s power.”
“That’s why you were unconscious?”
Azriel nodded and gulped. You realized he was crying. “And then they turned the three of you into High Fae, and Feyre distracted them so we could get you all out.”
You pulled back, heart breaking at the misty look in his eyes. “Where are we now?” you asked, glancing around the room.
“You’re in the House of Wind, in Velaris,” he answered, a small smile on his face. “The City of Starlight.”
Your eyes lit up. “The Night Court?” you asked, trying to contain your budding excitement. Azriel nodded. “Holy shit.”
He chuckled, shifting backwards slightly and looking down at where your hands rested on the comforter. He swallowed, then reached out and gently took them in his own. “I’m so sorry,” he said, his voice smaller than you’d ever heard it before. Your brows furrowed in confusion.
“What do you mean?” you said softly.
“I promised to protect you.” His voice was a whisper now. “I promised you I wouldn’t let any harm come to your family and I failed, I-”
“Absolutely not,” you interrupted. His eyes snapped up to meet yours, and you shook your head. “You did not fail. You were literally unconscious when Tamlin put me in the cauldron. They had to knock you out to get to us, and that still didn’t keep you away. Don’t you dare say you failed.”
“And we’re all here now, and we’re all alive.” You paused, frowned. “We are all alive, right? Nesta and Elain…”
“They’re fine,” he said quickly, hands squeezing yours. “Nesta…well she’s not doing well emotionally, but they’ve both been up for a few days.”
You nodded once, leaning forward and pressing your forehead against his. “Please don’t blame yourself. I don’t think I could stand it.”
“I’m still sorry,” he whispered.
“Don’t be,” you begged. “You got me out of there, while you were injured yourself. You’ve done more to keep me safe than anyone.”
He gave you a small smile. “Don’t forget Feyre,” he said. You grinned.
“I’ll consider you tied with Feyre.”
You pulled back slightly, glancing around at the room and taking in the lavish furniture, the rich purple color of the walls. “Rhys really has a lot of money, huh?” you said, looking back at Azriel. Azriel shook his head, smiling.
“He has more money than he knows what to do with,” he replied, eyes full of adoration as he gazed at you.
“Do you think I could…borrow some of it?” you suggested. “It’s not that I don’t love the decor, but if I’m going to be staying here for a while I think I’d like to buy a painting or something.”
“I’m sure that can be arranged,” he chuckled. “Maybe we could go into the city, and look at some art shops?”
“I’d enjoy that,” you said, nodding eagerly. “You could show me around, you know?”
Azriel grinned, ducking his head and looking down at his hands. “Do you remember when we met, and I told you I’d take you stargazing if you were ever here?”
You nodded. A beat.
“Would you like to do that, tonight?” he asked tentatively. “Just you and me?”
“Yes,” you replied quickly, a smile blossoming on your face. “Yes, please.” Something about the hopeful look Azriel was giving you, the way his eyes shone at you with adoration, left your heart stuttering in your chest.
“So, it isn’t always nighttime in…the Night Court?” you asked hesitantly. You were on top of the House of Wind with Azriel, the two of you lying down on a blanket he’d brought up with him. Azriel chuckled and shook his head.
“Rats,” you said. “Got that one wrong, I guess.”
“We do, however, have the most beautiful nights in all of Prythian,” Azriel pointed out. You grinned.
“Yea, Az, it’s gorgeous.”
Never in your whole life had the stars seemed so close. You reveled under them, picking out constellations as Azriel told you about Velaris. Every once in a while you glanced over at him and were rendered absolutely speechless, admiring the sharp angles of his face and the curve of his nose. He looked beautiful in the starlight.
“Can I tell you something?” he asked softly.
You nodded. “Anything.”
He bit his lip. “You have to promise not to get mad.” He paused, reconsidering. “I’m nervous that you will.”
Your brows furrowed and you shifted next to him, resting on your side so you could look at his face. “What is it?”
You watched him swallow, close his eyes as if whatever he was thinking about physically pained him. “You understand how the whole…mate thing works, right?”
“Kind of,” you replied slowly. “Like Feyre and Rhys?”
Azriel nodded. “Exactly like Feyre and Rhys.”
“Well what’s that got to do with-” You stopped, eyes widening in sudden realization. “Azriel,” you whispered, voice deadly quiet. “Are we…?”
You trailed off as he nodded, an uncomfortable look on his face.
He sighed. “I understand if you need time, or if you don’t want anything with me. I just want you to know I’m here for you-”
You climbed on top of him, effectively cutting him off as you buried your face in his neck and hugged him tightly. He inhaled sharply, clasped his arms around your midsection tightly, as if he never wanted to let go.
“Azriel it’s okay,” you said softly, “You’re fantastic, I could never be mad at you, especially for something like this.”
He let out a shaky breath, pulling you closer to him still. “Thank you.”
You closed your eyes, breathing him in, recalling all the times you’d felt an indescribable pull towards Azriel, all the times he’d been the only person who could calm you down or understand you.
“How did you know?” you mumbled against him.
“I think I’ve always known,” he said quietly, one hand rubbing your back. “There’s always been something so special about you, something that made me want to keep you safe. And then the minute you changed in the Cauldron…”
Azriel took a deep breath, and you remembered the desperate look on his face when Tamlin had pulled you out of the Cauldron, remembered the way he’d been so injured but still tried to reach you.
“Something just snapped,” he whispered. “And I think I had been unconscious, but suddenly you were coming out of the Cauldron and all I could think about was you and how scared you looked.”
“Azriel,” you murmured, pushing yourself up to look in his eyes. You felt your resolve crumble at the tears running down his face, and reached up gently to brush them away.
“How-” you started, brows furrowing as you searched for the right words. “How does one…agree to a situation like this. What am I supposed to do?”
Azriel’s voice was slow and unsteady as he answered. “If you were to accept the mating bond, the female typically makes something for the male to eat.”
“You sound like you’re reading from a textbook,” you teased, giggling when Azriel rolled his eyes. “So, what do you like to eat?”
Azriel’s eyes widened in surprise. “Y/N-”
“I know you had potatoes when you came over that one time-”
“Y/N, you don’t have to accept it,” he said hurriedly. “I don’t want you to feel pressured into anything, and I’m perfectly happy to wait.”
“I think I’m going to make us cookies,” you hummed, resting your nose against his. Azriel gasped softly, his eyes fluttering shut. “Would you eat them with me?”
“Yes,” Azriel strained. “Gods, yes.” He brought his hands up to hold your face, and your eyes shut as he kissed you reverently. And you stayed there for hours, holding each other under the starlight, whispering soft I love you’s between kisses, before heading down to the kitchens hand in hand.
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten | Part Eleven | Part Twelve | Part Thirteen | Part Fourteen
Warnings: None! Apart from angst, ofc.
No, no, no. Not now. This couldn’t be happening now.
Nothing existed in your head but screeching, screaming. None of the euphoria that had taken its place there only moments ago. An endless, relentless wind of darkness whipping around your brain and swallowing you up–
Mate. The word was clanging around in there somewhere, a millstone fastening itself around your neck. Not now, not now, not now.
You were winded. Leached of all breath, of all ability to think. Your trembling hands gripped onto the railing behind you – the only thing that stopped your legs from giving out beneath you.
Azriel was staring back at you, his eyes just as wide. But…understanding, it looked like, dawning across his face. Like the fog of a century of confusion was clearing, and things were beginning to make sense, realisation hitting–
You wanted to scream. You may have been screaming, for all you were aware of what was happening inside your head, and outside of it.
Fate must have been watching from somewhere above, cackling at you. Why now – you wanted to scream at the skies. Why, when–
When you’d already made peace with the fact that you were leaving Velaris again – perhaps never to return.
When before you’d even arrived at the Starfall celebrations that evening, you’d known this would be your last night here. That you were affording yourself one more night with the family you felt so disconnected from – and then you were out of here.
When you’d already written to Tarquin, informing him of your imminent arrival.
Fate was definitely laughing at you. Definitely punishing you – perhaps for being the hateful, bitter person that the passing years had moulded you into. Perhaps you deserved this.
“Y/N.” Azriel’s voice, though quiet as usual, may as well have been a claxon up on that roof. It hurt your ears, your head – your heart. He took a single step towards you. “Y/N.”
You blinked, tears spilling over that you didn’t even realise had formed. You attempted to take a step back – to get away from him – but the cold railing only pressed further against your back.
“Y/N.” Az repeatedly softly. “You…you’re my–”
“I need to leave.” You choked out; you couldn’t let him say the word. Couldn’t allow him to make it real. You sidestepped him. “I need to go.”
His beautiful features folded into a frown, lips parting. He reached for you, but not fast enough – you were already pushing past him. “Y/N…what…?”
“I’m leaving.” In great, hurried strides, you’d reached the door to the roof. Az was hot on your trail, his lips speaking words you couldn’t hear beneath the roaring of your mind. Somehow, you managed to force your feet down the stairs, though your legs could buckle at any moment.
“Where are you going?” Az’s boots thudded closely behind you. “Dammit, Y/N.”
Home – you were going home. Somehow. You had to get out of here, out of the House of Wind, and back to your house – where you were then leave for Adriata. You just needed to find someone–
Cassian. That was who you were looking for. You reached the lower level, not even acknowledging Az following you as you took a sharp turn into the kitchen. It was empty – everyone still out on the main balcony, still going about their celebrations as if the entire world hadn’t just cleaved and shook – except for Cassian fixing himself a drink. You almost cried out in relief.
“Cas.” You hurried over. “Cassian.”
The Illyrian general looked up with a smile – that quickly fell as he took in your features, the tears streaming down your cheeks, the undoubtedly shell-shocked expression taking up your face. The stardust smattering your clothes and hair. And then he glanced to Azriel behind you, his gaze flickering between the two of you. Could he sense what had just changed? Scent the…the bond, perhaps–
“Cas, I need you to fly me home. Now.” You breathed, every part of you trembling.
“I can fly you home.” Azriel spoke quietly behind you. He took a step closer. “I – let me take you home.”
You backed away so fast, you knocked into Cassian, barely registering his warm hands steadying you. “No. No. I want Cassian to take me.”
Azriel’s face crumpled again. That was a silent plea in his eyes. “Y/N…please…”
But you were ignoring him. Turning in Cassian’s arms, and hoping that your eyes were communicating the utter desperation you felt. He shot one more look at Az before meeting your gaze, his brow deeply furrowed.
“Please, Cas.” You whispered. “Please just take me home.”
Tracking a tear that rolled down your cheek, he nodded. “...Okay. Yeah. Of course.”
“The other balcony,” You managed to bite, your hand dragging Cassian towards the glass doors that opened out onto the smaller, unoccupied veranda. Your feet stumbled ungracefully, stalling and tripping every other step, but Cas’s firm grip was enough to keep you upright.
“Y/N.” Azriel followed, bursting so hard through those glass doors, it was a wonder he didn’t smash them. “Just–”
“Leave it, brother.” Cassian said, scooping you into his arms. You could have sobbed in relief. “She doesn’t want to talk to you right now.”
And then he shot into the skies, Az’s stunned, bewildered figure becoming smaller and smaller as the distance stretched. You clung to Cas with a grip so hard, your nails bit into his skin; you didn’t know if it was the fear of such a height, or just the need to hold on to something that kept you gripping, firmer and firmer.
Cas didn’t ask questions – he’d always been brilliant like that. Leaving room for you to talk if you wished, but not pushing it. Even though his mind must have been crammed full with questions about what may have happened back there – he didn’t ask. Didn’t even speak.
He landed just outside your property with feather-light steps, not even giving you room to argue as he pulled you up to the door and walked you inside, his hand a solid grip on your own. Not that you had the capacity, right then, to argue; you were seconds from collapsing, or – something. Hyperventilating. Completely fucking breaking.
Cas stopped in the doorway, watching you silently – waiting for some kind of indication that you were alright – as you began to pace the floor, rubbing a hand over your chest as if to ease the ache that had gathered there. Maybe you would throw up, right there, over the dress Azriel had bought you. Part of you wanted to rip it off and burn it.
“You don’t have to tell me anything…” Cas said, inching closer. “But…I’m worried. Are you alright? You don’t look alright.”
No, you wanted to tell him, I’ve never been less alright. The temptation to drop at his feet and sob until you were hoarse was very much present, but – there would be no chance to leave Velaris with him watching over you.
And that was the only thing that could make you feel better. Getting out of here. Leaving it all behind.
“I’m fine.” You choked; it was laughable how unconvincing it sounded. “You don’t have to stay here. Go back to the party, Cas.”
He didn’t move. Just continued to eye you warily. “...I don’t want to leave you like this. Did Az–”
“I’m fine, Cassian. I just – I’m just going to go to bed.
Lies. You were such a pretty, skilled liar. Part of you hated yourself for it – for being deceitful. What if this was the last time you clapped eyes on Cas? The male who had been like a brother to you from the day you were born? What if you never saw him again–
No. You couldn’t start having thoughts like that…thoughts that would talk you out of your decision. Emotions were the last thing you needed to bring into this. You needed to be stoic, unblinking – to convince yourself that you didn’t care.
“Seriously, Cas. I’m just…I’m exhausted. I need to sleep.” You paused – and then forced another lie that almost wrangled a sob from your throat. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
No, you wouldn’t. And he had no fucking clue.
“Just…send word…if you need me.” Cassian said. “Whatever it is, I’ll come straight away. Promise me.”
“I promise.” Liar, liar, liar.
He nodded – stiffly, not at all convinced by you. But also not wanting to push you. Never wanting to push you.
He stepped away, and then turned in the doorway, glancing at you over his shoulder. “I love you, you know, Y/N.”
Your eyes shuttered. “I love you too, Cas.” And you did.
But it was much too late for that.
You gave yourself a total of fifteen minutes to completely lose your shit, to freak out and cry and scream.
And then you pulled the shutters down on your emotions, and you forced yourself into action.
Glorious Fae magic had meant that most things you planned to take to Adriata with you were already stored into the pocket realm, ready to be retrieved when you got there. You planned only to clean yourself up, and to carry a light change of clothes with you that you could don as soon as you got there. Something far more Summer Court friendly.
It was when you were rifling through your drawers, making sure you’d not left anything behind that you wished to take with you, that you heard the thump. And then the balcony doors opened.
Azriel burst in, nothing but a night-kissed breeze. You tried to ignore him, to not even acknowledge his arrival, as you continued moving about the room.
But he knew, immediately, what he was witnessing. His brilliant brain caught on in an instant, as he took in the room, lighter of some of your belongings that had been there before. The sight of you shoving that change of clothes into a small, light bag.
“What are you doing?” His voice was guttural. He stepped further into the room, into your path, when you ignored him. “Y/N?!”
You stepped past him, throwing your earrings – the earrings he had bought you – onto your dresser. “I’m leaving.”
“What? You’re not…you can’t–”
“It’s not up for discussion, Azriel. I’m leaving. Can you move out of my way, please?”
“No.” He moved into your path, his features crumpling. You could have sworn his voice broke. “You’re not going anywhere. We need to talk–”
“There is nothing to talk about, Azriel. Nothing.”
You may as well have stabbed him straight through the heart, from the way he looked at you. From the way he fell so terribly still. His throat worked on a swallow.
“You,” He rasped, yanking you closer by the hand. He cupped your face in his palms, his skin icy cold, “You are my mate.”
You grimaced. Felt that horrible, dreadful thing that snaked its way beneath your skin, through your veins, into your bones. A lethal, deadly thing that was both freezing and scorching, empty and suffocating. It was evil, so ruthless and evil–
It was what allowed you to reach up. To grab Azriel by the wrists and prise his hands from you. You stepped away, willing your face into steel.
“Do not,” You bit harshly – in a voice that didn’t even sound like yours, “touch me.”
Heartbreaking – so heartbreaking, the way his gaze immediately fell to his scarred hands, as if they were the problem, as if they hadn’t been touching you so gloriously not even an hour before. He studied them, a muscle in his jaw moving, and then he lifted his eyes to yours again.
Gods, they were haunted. Breaking. You could see it, and you wanted nothing more than to grab him and stop him from falling apart. But…but you were broken, too. You were so fucking broken, and nobody had stopped you from falling apart.
“I am leaving Velaris.” You croaked. “I’m going to the Summer Court – to Adriata. I’ve already informed Tarquin. I’m leaving.”
“But why? Why would you–”
“Because I can’t stay here, Azriel!” You snapped. “I can’t stay here and act like everything is fine when I’m falling apart and none of you fucking care!”
“I care about you more than anyone.”
“You can’t just decide that now because a fucking bond tells you to!” You were shaking, so, so near to trashing the entire room. You shoved past Azriel, began picking up clothes just to give your hands something to do. “I came back here, because I needed my family. Because I was lonely, and hurting, and I thought I might actually find the love here that I yearned for so badly.”
“I know things haven’t been easy–”
“Things have never been easy for me, Azriel. Ever. And every single one of you knows that, but nobody wants to help! And why? Because I’m not like Elain? Because I’m not delicate and soft and sweet? Because I can deal with it on my own, like I always have?!”
“Well I haven’t dealt with it, you know.” You whipped around to face him. “I have never dealt with it. Not the trauma my father left me with, or Tamlin’s father, or you playing with my fucking feelings. Not Rhys being disappointed in me, who I’ve become, even if he doesn’t say it outright. I have never dealt with any of those things. I’ve let them fester, and spread, and now I don’t know where one bad thing ends and another begins. I fucking hate myself, Azriel. I hate myself, and I hate my life, and that is why I need to leave.”
Those broken eyes of his stared at you so thoroughly, so pressingly, it felt like he was undressing you, peeling back every one of your vulnerabilities and leaving you bare, emotionally naked before him. He braced another step towards you.
“Then let me help you.” He whispered. “Please. I know I’ve let you down. I’m so fucking sorry for that. I know I should have been there for you. I know that I was a coward and I should have just faced my feelings instead of mistreating yours. But I want to fix all of that. I want to make this better for you – for us.”
“Why, Az?” You laughed weakly, humourlessly. “Because we’re mates? It’s too late for that.”
“It can’t be. Y/N, I…I can’t lose you again–”
“I’m not yours to lose!”
He flinched – actually flinched, at your sharp words and cutting tone. The Shadowsinger, Spymaster, a figure of pure, unflinching stone, had become nothing more than a breakable object in front of you.
And you were about to break him.
But he’d broken you first.
“I can’t–” You swallowed a sob, furiously wiping your eyes. “I can’t give myself to anyone like this. How can I be someone’s mate when I can’t even live with myself? I can’t!”
“I can help you.” Azriel whispered. “I want to help you. I don’t care about anything else.”
“No, Az. You can’t.” You shook your head. Braved a step closer to him – even though it physically pained you not to reach out and touch him. “It’s something I need to do. It’s something I need you to let me do. I need you to let me go so that I can heal. Because I’m broken…and I cannot even think about accepting this bond while I am.”
You watched him – your mate – as a tear escaped the corner of his eye, rolling down his cheek. His shoulders had slumped, and you could feel it – his defeat.
“Az,” You breathed softly. “If…if you care about me…you’ll let me do this. Don’t make it difficult for me. I need to leave. I can’t get better here.”
His eyes shuttered, sending more tears skittering down his cheeks. So badly, you wanted to reach forward and wipe them away. But you didn’t. You stood your ground. Squared your shoulders.
Moments passed in silence. Of Az breathing heavily, slowly, like he was trying to calm himself. He pressed his lips tightly together, and you could see him fighting back a huge onslaught of tears. He wouldn’t let himself break right now – before you.
“Okay.” He eventually rasped. “If it’s what will help you – okay. I won’t stop you.”
“Thank you.” You whispered.
He cleared his throat – cleared the lump of emotion away. Straightened himself out. “Can I…can I at least winnow you to Adriata? Please?”
You paused, not having expected him to request that. You supposed you expected him to simply relent, and then to take off into the skies where he would scream at the clouds and the roaring winds. Maybe get drunk on his own and return to the House of Wind once everyone was asleep, not there to witness him breaking apart.
But he wanted as much time with you as he could get.
And you…you were okay with that. Leaving again would be hard, even though it was what you needed more than anything – having him by your side, however briefly, would help.
So you nodded, brushing past him and reaching for your bag.
“Yes.” You said. “You can winnow me to Adriata.”
Even Azriel wasn’t powerful enough to lengthen the process of winnowing – although you sensed he wanted to try.
He didn’t just take hold of your hand, as he normally would for such a venture. He clutched your body to his, his arms snaking around you, his face burying into your hair.
And then Velaris disappeared from around you. The two of you were dragged into that awful, whipping darkness that existed between one place and another. A darkness that was always a few degrees cooler than everywhere else and always, always so jarring.
And then you saw it – a pinprick of light that was rapidly growing. You felt heat fanning your face, and you immediately picked up on the smells of balmy air and salt and sea. Even in the very early hours of the morning, Adriata had a brightness about it that was breathtaking.
You were awed by the sights that you’d turned your back on all those years ago. But Azriel’s body had stiffened against you.
Tarquin’s sandstone palace loomed over you, beautiful and brilliant in all its Summer Court glory. And there, in the huge, arching doorway, the High Lord stood.
He was as breathtaking as you remembered. Cutting a casual, easy figure in pale, flowing clothes, the white of his long hair against the rich brown of his skin, and the pale blue of his eyes, had any potential greetings dying in your throat.
He truly was a vision. A friend.
Azriel sat you down at the steps that led up to the door – but kept an arm around you. Tarquin moved forward, descending the steps with casual grace.
“Welcome back to my home, Lady of the Night.” He greeted you with a bow that he repeated to Azriel. “Shadowsinger – good to see you.”
“Tarquin.” Was all Azriel offered – that, and a stiff nod. He stared up at the palace as if he couldn’t quite believe he’d gone along with this. As if he was considering taking you and winnowing straight back out of there.
You slid out from under his arm, turning to face him with a knot in your stomach.
“I don’t want to go.” He whispered, brushing his fingers over yours.
Tarquin had the good sense to look away and feign interest in a crack in the wall.
“I know.” You murmured back. “But I need this, Az. This – this will be good for me.”
Tarquin cleared his throat. “She’ll be well looked after here. I’ll see to it myself.”
Azriel glanced at him sharply, clearly reading a meaning behind the High Lord’s words that wasn’t there – and he growled. You placed a hand on Az’s chest, forcing his eyes back to yours.
“Please Az.” You pleaded quietly. “Let me go…for now.”
He swallowed hard. “Can I at least write to you?”
“I just...I just need some time. Give me some time, some space, and when I’m ready to talk, I’ll write to you.”
He paused – and then gave a relenting nod. What other choice did he have? The whole point of this was for time, for space.
At least he was trying to understand that.
“If you…” He cleared his throat, “If at any point you want to come home, just send word. I’ll be here right away.”
“I know you will, Az.”
And then he just stood, staring at you, clearly not wanting to take that leap and leave. And it would have been so easy to grab hold of his hand and beg him to stay with you. So, so easy – but not good for you.
“I’ll be waiting to hear from you.” He leaned in. “Whenever you’re ready.”
He leaned down, brushing his lips over your cheeks and your forehead in such light, gentle kisses. And then he stood back.
And then he was gone. A shadow splintering into nothing before you.
You gritted your teeth. Told yourself not to cry. You felt the warm touch of Tarquin’s hand on your arm.
“Come, friend.” He said gently. “Let’s get you settled in.”
Az flew and flew until he could fly no more. Until he was exhausted, his wings begging for a break. Until he’d screamed so much, he’d nearly lost his voice, and the wind had dried the streaks of tears on his tanned face.
It felt like it could have been anywhere between hours or days, just circling the skies and forcing himself to feel. To hurt. To recognise the consequences he now had to live with.
You were gone. And there was nothing he could do but let it be. To put you before everything and everyone else.
The sun had risen over Velaris by the time he could no longer keep himself aloft. The Inner Circle would still be at the House of Wind – either soaking up a night of drinking with breakfast, or heading to bed for some much needed rest.
Az could have done the sensible thing and gone for a walk, cooled himself off. He could have kept his mouth shut and wallowed in his pain alone.
But then he was coming to a staggered stop on one of the balconies, and he realised – he couldn’t. He couldn’t leave this alone, even if he wanted to.
A feral anger was growing inside of him. And he needed an outlet.
He kicked his way through the halls of the house. The combination of different voices coming from the sitting room told him that nobody was in bed yet.
He’d have an audience, then.
Fine. That was fine.
The doors to the sitting room were wide open, and they were all in there – Rhys and Feyre, Cassian and Nesta, Mor and Amren…even Elain was tucked into one of the armchairs, a soft laugh escaping her in response to something Cassian had said.
Az’s boots thudded against the floor, announcing his presence as he approached the room and stepped inside. Everyone looked up.
“Where did you get to?” Mor was the first to speak, sitting up. “Cas said he flew Y/N home because she was tired, but you were gone, too.”
Azriel may as well have not heard her, for all he acknowledged her. No – he stared at Rhys, and Rhys only. Stepped closer.
It took seconds for them all to catch on to something being…wrong. That look in Azriel’s eyes…the fury–
“What’s the matter, Az?” Rhys frowned, an arm casually slung around Feyre’s shoulders. “Why are you–” He paused as Az stopped before him, his nostrils flaring. “You smell…different.”
Az laughed, the sound dark, chilling – void of any humour. “Oh? What do I smell of, Rhys?”
“...Not sure…” The High Lord hummed, rising from the settee. He appraised the spymaster, eyes narrowed. “It’s like–”
“A mating bond, is what it is.” He snapped. “A fucking mating bond. That’s what you can smell.”
The room fell so very, very still. Even the birds outside seemed to stop singing. Seven pairs of eyes blinked at the Shadowsinger. Not one pair of lips moved.
So fucking typical, Azriel thought, that not one of them clocked it immediately. Because they wouldn’t automatically assume you to be his mate. Because they treated you like you were nothing, unworthy.
“My mate,” Az growled, stepping closer to Rhys, “Is gone. Because of you.”
His hands shoved against Rhys’s chest before he could stop himself. Rhys barely budged, but his violet eyes flashed with feral challenge.
“I suggest you calm down, brother,” He said carefully – his High Lord voice, “And tell me what the hell is going on.”
Cassian had stood slowly from his seat, inching subtly towards the two males. He stopped just beside them, ready to jump in.
“Use your fucking brain, Rhysand.” Azriel snapped. “Look around this room, and work out who’s missing, and use your fucking brain.”
Somewhere – somewhere, there was a light, feminine gasp. One of the five females had worked it out. Probably Mor. Maybe Feyre.
“You–” Rhys breathed. “My sister–”
“Is my mate, yes.” Az stepped closer again – shoved Cassian’s arm out of the way. “And she’s gone. Left again. Because of how she was treated here.”
“Take it easy, Az.” Cassian warned quietly. “Hands to yourself.”
It seemed that neither of the other two males heard him. Azriel was huffing breaths now, trembling with utter rage. And Rhys…Rhys blinked–
“What do you mean she left again?” Rhys stepped forward, trying to push past both of them. “Where is she?”
Azriel stepped in front of him, his shoulder knocking into his. “Summer Court. Said she had to go there because she couldn’t be here anymore. She thinks you’re disappointed in her – that you’re ashamed of her. And she totally fucking hates herself, and every single one of us is to blame. But you, Rhys? You more than anybody.”
Soft, delicate fingers brushed Az’s hand. Elain gazed up at him, worry in those brown eyes. “Azriel–”
“Do not touch me, Elain,” He ripped away. “Don’t you dare.”
Cassian was in front of him in a second, gently pushing against his chest. “That’s enough, Az. You’re tired and upset – you need to calm down.”
“I need my mate, Cassian!”
The stark, pained crack in his voice was jarring. So rare, for any of them to see such a raw display of emotion on his face and in the coiled tension of his body.
None of them knew what to do. How to approach him. How to help him.
Cassian squeezed his shoulder gently. “Just…get some sleep, Az. We’ll talk when we’ve all had some sleep.”
Not a bad idea – but how was he supposed to sleep with this gnawing, churning pain ripping him apart? When Rhys was just stood there, blinking into space, absolutely fucking useless.
“She needed us. All of us.” Az said to him through gritted teeth. “But you more than anyone, Rhys. And you neglected her. I don’t blame her for wanting to get away from here. Not one bit.”
Cassian was tugging on him, trying and failing to drag him away. Speaking soothing words into his ear that Az couldn’t even hear over the roaring in his mind.
“Az…” Rhys finally whispered, his own eyes glistening with tears. “I–”
“Hope you’re happy with yourself, brother.” Az cut him off.
There was a collective gasp of shock as the Shadowsinger’s fist went flying into the High Lord’s face.
By no means the first time Az had punched Rhys – it was part and parcel of being Fae, ingrained in them to hash things out with fists until the matter was settled and they were friends once more.
But this punch was different. One of a truly hurt, crumbling, heartbroken male. The force behind it had split Rhys’s lip open.
Before anyone could say or do anything else – try to diffuse the situation or drag Azriel away – he turned and stalked from the room himself. His footsteps pounded up the stairs, down the hall.
Only when he was shut in his bedroom did he truly cry and break for his mate.
Summary: With Azriel’s terrible track record with females of course another one would not be any different….right?
Ship: Azriel x Reader, Cassian x sister!reader
Genre: angst ends in fluff
Warnings: Insecurities, over bearing males, self-hate, comparing self with others
Inspiration: I thought about making this inspired by the song “Heart breaker” but decided against it and now this.
A/N: @cityofidek I hope you like it and to everyone else who does not understand a word of the story. I didn’t proof read it I actually don’t proof read any of my work so good luck I know when it’s POVs it is technically 3rd person but bear with me.
Cassian had to watch it all. From Gwyn to Mor to one of the Archeron sisters. His brother certainly could not choose. He was frustrated with his brother because he knew that Azriel more then anyone deserved to be happy. Cassian himself had Nesta, Rhysand had Feyre, Amren had Varian and Elain had opted for Lucien in the end.
Cassian sighed before pinching his nose when suddenly a letter appeared in front of him. It was from his sister:
I know it has been a while since the war. The female legions are going home for the Winter Solstice and to spend time with their families before coming back in two weeks. I’m going over to the townhouse right now as I send this. Don’t worry big brother, I’ve already sent a letter to Rhys and please tell Az that I said hello! If you can even find him before I arrive.
Your still very lovable sister, Y/N
Cassian snorted at ‘lovable’. Annoying was a better word to describe the little scoundrel, but she and the rest of his brothers got along like family. Cassian had been given the young girl when she was a babe. All he was told was that she was his sister and that his mother wished for him to have her before the other Illyrians had killed her. One of her friends ran away with the baby to bring it to Cassian.
That was the same day he had gone berserk on the males who harmed his mother. But when he returned at the end of the day, he had held his sister in his arms, looked into those warm hazel eyes and he had known inside that he wanted to take care of her. Since then he taught her everything, how to fly, walk, handle her Illyrian power, even stick up to Devlon. She had delighted in the fact that she needed more siphons then him and Azriel, and he had pretended to be envious of the little girl, but inside all he really felt was sheer pride for the girl. Rhysand had also helped with her powers, she had been gifted similar powers to him so he spent his time training her, even though him and Rhysand was often at each other’s throats.
Then there was the blood week in the mountain….
He shuddered at the memory. She had succeeded, but she had been alone. Not like him, Az and Rhys. No she had gone up that damned mountain and had touched that stone alone. The will of a warrior, but the weeks he spent next to her, tending to her wounds that were so deep you could see bone…he did not want to think of it.
His sister was now a commander of her own legion, full of females. They were treated like males, fairly. They bonded well, the whole camp was sisters, in their own way. He smiled at the thought. His sister was able to build a whole camp to house many females. Not all, but it made an impact and to a lot of people that was enough. Not to her though, she always strived for more.
It wasn’t long before she came knocking on the townhouse’s door, Rhysand practically flung it open with a wild grin. She laughed as he enveloped her in the tightest hug before Cassian interrupted.
“You know she is supposed to be my sister,” He folded his arms as he leaned against the wall closest to them. She chuckled as he wrapped her arms around him, “To think you said you hated me,” “You drank the last bit of the wine I brought out!” She just burst into laughter again and slapped his forearm before hugging him, again.
Just then Azriel swept into the room, smiling for once as he took in the sight of her. “Where is my hug?” He teased as he opened his arms for her. They also got along, even when the three of them were adults and she was just a child there was always a click between the shadow singer and his sister.
That is ridiculous. Cassian thought to himself. Yes there is only a fifty year difference between them, but Azriel would never date my sister. However, as he watched his sister laugh with Az, he was not too sure about that. And the way Azriel looked at her…
No, Az could not like his sister, he would never allow that. Not when Azriel pines over someone new every other few decades. He looked over at his sister again, together with his almost-brother. They could not ever think to date each other, right?
Oh they absolutely could. Rhys’s voice echoed in his mind and he instantly glanced at the High Lord. Rhys just shrugged and continued to look at the pair that was still embracing each other, still. Annoyed, Cassian stepped in.
“Okay break it up, we get it,” He made his annoyance evident in his voice as he pulled them apart. “Don’t need to be jealous brother,” Y/N teased but that ticked him off more then she knew so he just glared at her. A general ordering his commander. Little did he think that he would find that the commander would fight right back. She glared at him, a challenge. She would tolerate his overprotectiveness especially after the wars but this, with her best friends, she would not stand for it.
Just as a brawl was about to start, the females of the inner circle came back from their little shopping trip for the winter solstice. Mor paused at the door before running to Y/N, the tears evident in her eyes. “I haven’t seen you since the war against Hybern!” Mor laughed as they hugged and cried. Feyre just stepped into the house, slightly confused, Nesta did not say anything and Amren just smirked at the woman slightly. That was when Cassian realised that the Acheron sisters had never really met his sister.
“Ladies, this is Y/N, my sister by blood,” Cassian stumbled over words as he glanced at Nesta, whose shoulders suddenly seemed to droop with relief, she smiled warmly at Y/N. Feyre’s eyes seemed to gleam before asking, “Older or younger?” Oh no. “I’m younger then Cassian by half a century,” Y/N’s smile was like a Cheshire Cat. “So you are familiar with annoying these brutes?” Feyre pushed further, her smile widening. Y/N looked just about ready to plot Cassian’s demise and he knew it, he gulped and so did Azriel and Rhysand. They were no stranger to her antics.
At least their getting along? Azriel spoke to them mind to mind. Rhysand rolled his eyes. Please they would get along regardless the only thing that would deter them would be if she ever caused us immense trauma.
Cassian furrowed his eyebrows before asking. Is causing us pain as children from all her mischief not trauma already? Azriel almost burst out laughing and Rhys’s shoulders shook with the effort. Feyre, being able to hear the whole conversation with her power shot them looks that might have killed them if she really tried.
Before long Y/N was tired and she needed to unpack her bags in the room that was usually for her when she came over. Which was not as often as before since she was busy after the war. Unfortunately, now she would be coming over a lot more since she promised Mor, despite the three Illyrian males’s protests.
Nuala and Cerridwen also had to interrupt the reunion because supper was almost done. So with the snap of her fingers Y/N’s bags was in her room and she was in her hoodie and pants. Contrasting to some people’s expensive taste in clothes, Y/N preferred hoodies, shirts, pull overs, jumpers and pants. There were times she wore skirts but only if she felt like it. Cauldron knows what happened the last time someone tried to force her into wearing something she did not want to wear.
Cassian huffed a laugh at the thought and followed the rest of the inner circle, and his mate, to supper.
Supper was as good as I remember especially with Nuala and Cerridwen cooking. The two wraiths had always been friends with me since I met them when Rhys first brought me to Velaris. They were also my favourite people to cook with, Mother knows the males cannot cook a meal to save their lives. No, they could only cook meat on a stick, over a fire. I had yet to thank Nuala and Cerridwen for keeping them alive.
Feyre and Nesta were absolute delights to be around, though Nesta was slightly protective of her mate. Understandably so but to think that I would ever date my brother of flesh and blood. Naseau rolled in my gut. Please, I would not even last a day, I would kick him out of the house.
Amren was as per usual, although she was Fae now, she still had that uncanny aura that made her terrifying, but of course I missed her. Cassian and Rhys were just as annoying as the last time they visited my camp but they have been for the past five centuries. I think I would be more afraid if they stopped bothering me all the time. Even when I was busy after the war and the cauldron, they still came by occasionally to make me go insane. And Azriel…
I looked at the shadow singer beside me and he flashed me a small smile before going back to eating, it made my heart flutter slightly, I chided myself. Azriel has liked so many other females, what makes you think he would like you? Might as well stop while you are ahead. Besides, your brother would kill you. Speaking of my brother, Cassian was wolfing down his food, lifting his head once in a while only to pick out bones from his meat just to toss them at me.
I would glare at him but he would ignore me. I knew if I told him to stop he would, but I did not say anything, I didn’t actually mind. Besides the fact that the bits of meat that stuck to the bone got matted in my hair sometimes. Cassian would never mind if I dated anyone, but his best friend and almost brother? Now that was cruel, or so says all my romance novels I enjoyed reading.
I sighed as I pushed around the remaining food on my plate.
“Y/N, are you not going to eat any more food? You barely touched anything,” Feyre asked, concern was evident but I shook my head. I had never eaten a lot as a child until now. It was a bad habit, yes, but it was what I was used to. I used to be insecure and there had been a time the lack of eating had stemmed from a fear of becoming overweight, but it was a really long time ago I figured that I just did not really like to eat.
“No, Feyre it’s fine the food is as good as I remember I just don’t eat a lot. You can ask the three males they have tried to force me to eat but I just don’t like eating in general,” I explained.
“Unless it’s chocolate,” Cassian chipped in.
“Or cookies,” Rhysand muttered.
“Or sandwiches but it has to depend on the day. Peanut butter is a good snack and she likes chocolate syrup the most during the night. However, if you touch the ice cream she most likely stored in the fridge she will and can slit your throat unless you promise to buy her more. Also for chocolate she prefers white because she finds dark way too bitter,” Azriel added. Well, added was an understatement.
I gaped at him. Not even Cassian knew so much about me especially about my snacking preferences. Rhysand looked positively delighted while Cassian was torn between throttling Azriel, being the overprotective brother he is, or laughing at the fact I was so defensive about ice cream. Azriel just continued to eat as if nothing happened. Feyre, Amren and Nesta shared what looked to be a knowing glance and I was confused.
Yes, Azriel knew a lot about me, apparently, but what was the big deal? I knew plenty about Azriel too, like how he preferred dark purple because it reminded him of Rhys especially during Amarantha’s reign. Azriel enjoyed his shadows because they usually whispered to him when he was lonely. There were times they got too overwhelming which were the days he brooded the most.
However, as much as I loved Azriel, secretly, for the past three centuries. He could never reciprocate my feelings, he could have any female in all of Velaris for cauldron’s sake! The thought made me sick, Azriel could never love me. Never.
I stood suddenly. Apologising, saying that I was tired from the journey here, since I could not winnow. And as I walked down the hallway, tears slid down my cheeks. Azriel could never be mine, it echoed in my soul, rung in my head.
“Wait, Y/N!” Azriel called, “You forgot your- are you crying?” And as I looked up at the male. The bond snapped into place and for a second hope flared in my heart but Azriel did not seem fazed at all. Then it hit me.
The bond had only snapped into place for me. Only for me.
Mother was cruel after all. Azriel’s eyes still flooded with that worry and I shook my head. “It’s nothing, I’m fine Az,” I tried so hard for my voice not to crack. Az did not seem convinced but he passed me my bracelet, the one that Cass had given me when I was younger which I had taken off for supper and had left at the table, before he strolled back to the table.
My mate, the bond was there when I reached down. And as I turned to my room and closed the door, I thanked the mother that at least I had one, even if he could never truly be mine.
I changed into my nightgown which was really just an oversized shirt that reached my knees and lay down for a bit, maybe tomorrow would be better.
THE NEXT DAY
I blinked against the steady stream of sunlight through the window. It was dawn, which meant that I needed to get up. I stretched my wings. Time to train. Changing into my Illyrian leathers, I tied my hair into braids, grabbed my weapons belt and brought along my favourite daggers.
Cassian was at the dining table eating breakfast with Azriel. I smiled at both of them, my gaze lingering on my mate before I took some chocolate and began to eat.
“That’s it?” Cassian asked. “For the Mother’s sake you’re going to train!” I shot him a look that promised a slow death if he said anything else, but he just shrugged and went back to eating.
It was not long before Cassian and I were sparring, Az long gone to spy on some court for Rhys.
“So,” Cassian started as dodged my attack, feigning right trying to hit my side but I easily avoided him, “Az tells me you were crying last night,” He blocked as I delivered a swift punch, aiming for his face.
“And?” I asked as ducked under his fist just to sweep my feet to cause him to lose balance, he did, just for a second but it counted as I attacked and he fell to the ground. I flexed my body, stretching my wings.
“Mind telling your brother why?” I shook my head as I took out my blade, flipping it in my palm. The blade was one of my favourites i had named it ‘mortifer’ Cassian had laughed at the name since it quite literally meant bringer of death. I sighed as I angled the blade, “It’s just that Az is-,” “For Azriel’s sake he better not have hurt you,” He but in as he sharpened his own sword.
I huffed out a breath, “Azriel is my mate,” I admitted. Cassian stilled. And like the very fiery Piet of a volcano, his eyes turned to molten lava.
There was a ringing in his head as he turned to his sister. No, no, no. She couldn’t actually be his best friend’s mate. But one look at his sister and he knew that she was not joking.
He was going to kill Azriel. Inside he knew that Azriel deserved happiness but his sister? That was a line, and they were toeing it. Unable to control his anger he flew back to the town house in a fit of rage as he called for Rhysand mind to mind, leaving his sister calling to him to get his ass back to the training ring. He was not thinking straight, he knew that but he didn’t care much.
DID YOU KNOW!? He yelled at Rhys through the mental link in their heads as he tried to search for the High Lord.
Did I know what? Rhysand asked disquiet was crystal clear in his voice.
My sister and our dear fried Azriel, who is going to die, are mates! Mates! He gritted his teeth as he flung open the final door in the town house where Rhys could have been but nothing. Rhysand seemed to be laughing and Cassian almost snarled, almost.
I’m happy for them but have you considered that Azriel doesn’t know? Rhys question flipped a switch in Cassian and he realised that he had left his sister alone, she was probably scared. He knew she could hold her own but he needed to go back, to help her. And maybe, just maybe, get answers.
Cassian had left in a fit of rage, probably to go throw a tantrum but I prayed to the cauldron he wouldn’t tell Azriel anything. The beat of wings could suddenly be heard from a distance and as my eyes looked to the sky, I huffed a sigh of relief as my brother came into view, landing in front of me. His face like the harsh night sky in the mountains.
“Does he know?” He asked smoothly, arms crossed. I shook my head so he continued his questioning, “Are you going to tell him?” I shook my head again.
The question made me freeze because it did not come from Cassian, that voice had come from the shadow singer who know stood behind me. Cassian growled at Azriel and Az, for all intents and purposes, seemed all to read to snap back at him. Mother, give me patience or a dagger for these two.
“Cassian go home,” I ordered, the command in my voice was like steel, but I was quaking on the inside. Cassian was about to contradict me but something flickered in his eyes, my happiness, Azriel’s happiness, or his own need to protect his sister. There was a choice there and I waited in trepidation as Cassian looked torn between the two options.
Fortunately, he paced back a few. Steps before shooting into the sky. I sighed, taking down a mental note to thank him later. Azriel coughed from behind me and as I whirled to face the shadows singer, he looked sorrowful, disappointed.
“Is having me as a mate that bad?” His voice was quiet, so quiet. “No, it’s just-,” I looked at him again before gesturing to the whole of Velaris, “You could have anyone in the whole city, any female. How could I compete with that?” My tone grew heavier with every word. That was when I was swept off my feet, my wings draped heavily as Az carried me to the town house and brought me straight to his room.
“You are my mate,” He deadpanned as he hugged me the second he set me down, “You are more beautiful then any female in Velaris. Mins,” He was muffle as his face was buried in my hair. I giggled at the war sensation of his breath that skittered down my scalp to my neck.
“In tha case,” I started, reaching down to my pocket to pull out an almost melted chocolate bar, “Eat it,” I offered. And he did.
A/N: Imma let your imagination flow for this one. This got long so it took so long to write, I’ve been writing this since Thursday and for me it’s Saturday in the morning. Anyways, I hope you guys like this one cause I did <3
A/N: this is something very new to me, something that i'm still trying out so bear with me. I've got this idea to bring other characters to a side Azriel story, sometimes following the events from the books sometimes not.
I honestly don't know where i'm going with this tho, should I make a series? I just do this out of fun.
SUMMARY: Destiny is a cruel thing, bringing together two people who seem to still be hung up in the past.
SIDE NOTE: English is not my first language so I apologize for any grammar mistakes.
Pilot ( Vol. 0)
My heartbeat was pounding loudly in my ears by the time I reached the east front of the battlefield. Bodies piled up in every direction, rotten corpses both fae and human alike. I scanned through all of their faces, most of them Illyrian and Loyalists but I could make broken pieces of the porcelain battle-worn masks of some of my people that were peaking up from the gore and mud.
War has never been pretty, I've experienced it first-hand when I was just five years old. Our village's part of a great island splitted into five main territories, always in the verge of battle with its neighbour villages. I thought i knew what to expect of this, having seeing it as a child, but truth be told no amount of training could prepare me for this, searching familiar faces –his face– among the dead.
As I made my way through the field of shredded wings and wrong angled limbs another warrior came into view. I braced myself for any threat but he seemed to be doing exactly the same as I was. He looked exhausted, wings dropped and almost dragging against the soil with each step. His eyes met mine and I tightened the hold on my blade, although worn out the power beating behind those violets eyes was enough to startle me. He took me in, my clothing, my blade, my mask, and opted to so very slowly rise up his palms. I didn't loose my grip.
"Hey.." he whispered, voice rasped "you're from Thera" he pointed at my mask "we're– we're allies. I'm Rhysand, son to the High Lord of the Night Court"
"Prythian..." I muttered " your father summoned us here"
"Yes, you were supposed to be further south. How did you end up here?" He asked looking at the dead around us.
Exhaustion quickly turned into cold rage as the memories of what happened flodded my mind.
"We were betrayed" I said as a red half piece of mask catched my eye a few feet away. Resembling the god of the sun in red and gold, Asta's mask. My heart sunk to my feet and I didn't dare move toward it, fearing I could never shake the image of his lifeless eyes off my mind.
The male, Rhysand, followed my sight for a moment before I averted my gaze back to him. Something like understanding danced in his eyes.
I didn't answer.
"You should go back, re-agroup. The war is over" he said gently.
"There's no one left on my flank" my reply came out harsher than i expected. I put the blade back into its sheath across my back.
"I'm sorry" he offered and paused for a moment "we can look for them together"
I hadn't seen anyone alive in miles, and didn't posses the strenght to look for my best friend's body. Almost the entire village had come answering the call for help, except for the Great Lord, the counsil, the ill, and of course women and children. Home will most likely hold a different meaning by the end of the slaughter.
I took a look around, then at the defeat written all over Rhysand's face. He seemed genuine and was looking for his people as well. I had nothing left on that battlefield and yet I took a step in his direction.
"Alright" was all I said as I offered him a can of water, all that was left of it. He hesitated for a second before he took it.
"Thank you..." Rhysand said after chuking down all the content of the can "I didn't catch your name"
"Y/N... It's Y/N" I responded walking beside him.
"Y/N..." he breathed. And we kept moving across the field in shared silence.
I remember the first time I saw Azriel, tall and brooding and extremely handsome. Where his brother, Cassian, was all banter and loud laughter, Azriel was all discret rare smiles and low rasped laughs. His shadows were the first thing to draw my attention, fascinating as they were; still I didn't miss the look of distrust he gave me when Rhys first introduced me to the Inner Circle. The kind of look you give to someone you know nothing about, as if they held a secret agenda.
I couldn't blame him, little was known about Thera thanks to the many protector spells that spread all around the Island. Even the words that got out to the world were mere rumors. The High Lords of Prythian barely ever looked in our direction if not for cases of extreme need of our forces, like in the war against the Loyalists. Thera was ancient, much more older than Prythian or Hybern, and as all arcaic things it refused to be open to the world, keeping all its secrets inside the territory.
Azriel was wary for months, always on alert, always watching as the great spy master he was. There was probably very few people that could rival his talent, even fewer that could notice the shadowsinger before he was out of sight again, but somehow I always knew where to look at, where to find him. I didn't let him know that.
Back in Thera all children born with blessings were trained from a very young age to become great ninjas, warriors,sorcerers...and those who presented some specific talents were admited in the most prestige training academy of the village to become a part of the Elite force that guarded the secrets of our territory. Asta and I had been the youngest ninja to ever be admited in with the Myrajh, the group that possesed the skill sets to make an entire Empire fall in one night. I was used to always be on alert, and to notice even the slightest of things most would ignore.
It took longer for Azriel to trust me than the rest, Mor and Cassian almost inmediatly falling into jokes and banter with me after just one look at their now High Lord and the trust he seemed to had put in me. Amren wasn't so chatty but she gave off this aura of silent respect as she nodded once in my direction. It was like she had known me, or the hidden truths behind my people; wether she knew or not, she didn't say anything about it.
Now, almost five centuries later, I sit with them at the table in the living space of the House of Wind discussing what to do next. Rhys had gone Under The Mountain nine years ago and things weren't going as smoothly as we thought, the discontent has settled heavy amongst the people across Prythian, even here in Velaris. Not to mention the stoll it takes everyday from our group just at the thought of what he must be enduring there. Alone. Rhys was my first friend ever outside Thera, and the only one who understood me, even when I kept things for myself. He gave me a purpose after the War, something to look foward to when I had lost everything, and I had failed him. Left him alone when he needed me most, left him go on his own to what surely was a trap.
"Stop." Amren spoke to me, and the heated argument between Mor and Cassian died. "You go awfully quiet when you're plotting something, you look like Azriel" she said and I lifted my eyes to meet the shadowsinger's brieftly soft stare before turning to her. "Whatever it is, stop it. You can not go there."
I closed my fingers in a fist beneath the table.
"I'm not needed here, Amren. But I can do something, I'm good at infiltrating, let me go get him back. It's been too long."
"Don't say that —" Cassian started but Amren cut him right in.
"What would you do then? Let's say you succesfully infiltrate that horrid fortress, we don't know if the wards they put in are going to drain you from your power before you can even put a feet inside." In her grey eyes something dangerous danced as she said to me " If they get to you, all of Rhysand's efforts to keep this place safe, to keep us safe go to shit for nothing. He suffers for nothing."
"I can't just sit and do nothing." it's eating me alive, i almost added.
"You keep the Court borders safe, you keep this people safe. You travel from one point of the Court to the other and beyond making sure everything stays in order and that no one forgets about their High Lord. You think I don't know where you go off to when you're not in Velaris?" She deadpan looked at me.
I cut a glance across the table at Azriel. The shadowsinger sat very still next to Mor. Has he been reporting to her?
"You do more than enough." The blonde spoke softly, all trace of previous frustration gone "We need you here, Rhys needs you here"
I didn't let the pain show on my face as I rose to my feet. "Are we done here?" I asked to no one in particular. Amren nodded. "I'll return to the west cost border tomorrow afternoon."
And with that I took off, back to the Town House.
Everyone joined in for dinner at the house a couple of hours later. I was already sitting on a small couch in the corner of the living room, beside the window, a pile of spell books next to me and a bowl of hot noodle soup in my hands. I was too preocupied with learning anything that might be of use against Amarantha to join them in the kitchen, besides that not so subtle strange bond between the two Illyrians and Mor always made me a little uncomfortable. It got me feeling some type of way and I didn't like it.
I averted my gaze from the trio hanging out in the kitchen back to my books and decided that it was better to continue my searching somewhere more... quiet. I drank the last bit of soup before grabbing the pile and made my way to the rooftop. The chill night breeze welcomed me as I settled myself against a cushioned chair and rised my feet to rest on top of the banister; even Velaris, as beautiful as it was, looked more dull without Rhys. Not so many stars shone in the sky as if the city itself was mourning their High Lord.
I must of lost track of time up there and fell asleep, cause next thing I know I abruptly opened my eyes and in a swift motion got my hunting knife directed at the neck of whoever stood in front of me. Hazel eyes full of surprise greeted me and I lowered the knife in realization, calming the thunder of my heartbeat. Azriel. He was reaching down to the forgotten book in my lap.
"Fuck Az, don't creep out on me ever again." I muttered.
His eyes softened at me apologetically and he grabed the book, setting it back down on the small table next to us.
"You can't keep doing this to yourself" he spoke so low that I couldn't tell if it was him or the shadows speaking. "work yourself to exhaustion. It's not your fault what happened to Rhysand"
I opened my mouth but before I could retort he spoke again. "He didn't let me come either, it's useless to point the blame at ourselves, it was his call."
A small shaky sigh escaped my lips "It's just...I can't help to feel like I failed him. I owe him everything, Az."
"I know" he said and griped my right hand in his scarred one. It was warm even in the chilly winter night. "You still have us, you know? We'll figure it out"
A promise. It was rare to see this side of the shadowsinger but I always knew how kind he was behind the tough exterior. We were alike in more ways that I cared to admit, and sometimes he even reminded me of Asta. But it was painful to think about it, and cruel.
I lifted my eyes from our hands not knowing how close we were standing next to each other, I could feel his breath caresing my cheek. Azriel has always had this sort of magnetic pull that drawn me in. It made me uneasy at times. I opened my mouth to thank him, unable to take my eyes off of his own when I felt it. An explosion of night dust and starlight snaped inside of me, and the realization of what it was had me recoiling in horror. It must have been written all over my face 'cause Azriel's look was one of concern.
"What is it? What's wrong?" he asked but didn't try to reach me again.
He hadn't felt it then. I didn't stop to think if It was a good thing or not as I shoved that thing inside until I could barely sense it. I couldn't deal with it right now.
"Nothing, I remembered that I need to be elsewhere. Goodnight." I breathed the pathetic excuse before winnowing away from the house. From him.
I have noticed something weird going on when viewing posts in tumblr's mobile dark-mode. From experimenting on my own posts, it seems that unwanted formatting is carried over when copying and pasting from an external source (such as Google docs). It will look something like this in mobile dark mode, where regular text remains black and formatted text (such as itallics) becomes white:
Unfortunately, copying and pasting without formatting doesn't seem to be a quick fix since tumblr will treat this as one block of text (and it will likely exceed their 4,096 character limit per block).
So if you create content and want to make that content accessible to dark mode users, this is something you'll need to keep an eye out for. It goes without saying that if people can't read your content, it will impact your engagement.
If you want to avoid this happening with your posts, there are a few things you can look out for. If you switch the to the HTML editor for your post, you can usually find a tag that looks something like this: < span style = " color : # 000000 " >. This is carried over text formatting, and deleting any tags like this should solve the problem. Here's a short little tutorial on how to do this.
If you are posting something that's really long, like a story, then I would recommend translating your text into HTML and pasting it directly into the HTML Editor that I accessed in the video above. AO3 put together a beautiful Google Doc here that runs a script to convert all of your text into HTML. The instructions tell you exactly what to do, and since tumblr has made this change it has been life saving. You can find more about this doc and other neat tools from the @ao3org tumblr here.
Lastly, if you're a mobile dark mode user and you encounter a post that looks like this, rather than scroll past please consider switching to light mode or accessing the post from a computer. Please support content creators even if you have to go a little out of your way to do so 💕