Let's start off with a bang! 69 😏
(The first number I got was 69, and while I know we all hoped it was spicy, y’all got FLUFF AND ANGST INSTEAD. And yes, this is the song from Encanto and yes it is one of my faves. I sing it to my daughter almost every night )
#69 - Two Oruguitas by Sebastian Yatra (Encanto Soundtrack)
Life Finds A Way (Eris Vanserra x Reader)
Summary// Growing up together, Eris was your closest friend. The two of you went through everything together and more often than not if one of you were somewhere, the other wasn’t far behind. However, when Amarantha comes to your court and begins to ensnare everyone, Eris forces you back and tells you to run and never look back. Now, after fifty-odd years, you have tracked back to your home, hoping to find him.
WARNINGS: Mentions of fighting, blood
“I can’t decide on which one to wear…” You mused to yourself, switching between two different outfits for dinner tonight. They both looked amazing on you, both beautiful in their own way, but it was impossible to choose. “If I do this one I could wear that necklace but this one-”
“Oh for Cauldron’s sake Y/N, are you still deciding?” A teasing voice groaned from the doorway, your eyes rolling at your best friend’s question. “It’s just a dinner, there’s no need to act like you are getting betrothed.”
You smirked, setting down the outfits on your bed, before turning around with your head cocked to the side. “At least if I were, my fiance wouldn’t have to worry about me showing up with my laces undone.” You snarked back, laughing when Eris’s eyes widened, and he fumbled with the top of his pants.
It was a lie, of course, but you snatched one of the outfits and ran to the bathroom before he could grab you to torment you. The door slammed shut on him, and he playfully hit it with his fist, fighting the urge to smile at your antics. “You think you’re so funny, little fox.”
After a couple of minutes, you opened the door, dressed and ready for the night, and patted his cheek condescendingly. “No, I know I am funny.”
He shook his head and offered you his arm, leading the two of you out of your room and towards the dining hall. “You keep fidgeting. Are you nervous?”
“For Amarantha? No. She’s harmless and is actually doing well opening up the trade routes. I’m just wondering if the other dress would’ve looked better…” You sigh as you fiddled with the lace of your sleeve, missing the look that flashed in Eris’s eyes.
Both of you stopped just outside of the door and before you could take another step, he pulled you back by his side. The action caused you to look up at him, startled, only to immediately melt at his words.
“You look beautiful, Y/N. Anything would look good on you.”
Your cheeks warmed at the compliment and you had to look away so that he didn’t catch you trying to calm your breathing, mumbling a quiet “Thank you.” before leading the way inside.
The music was soft and melodic as you both parted ways to opposite ends of the dining table, smiling and acknowledging the other high members of the court as you took your seat. Amarantha was at the head with Lord Beron, Lady of the Autumn Court, and the rest of their family.
Dinner was served promptly and it looked delicious, everyone digging in as the conversations kept moving from subject to subject. Eris kept sending you glances, which you returned shyly, as the night went on. It was almost time for dessert when the Emissary of Hybern stood abruptly, raising her glass and toasting to the Lord of Autumn.
“To your lord, who serves his court pridefully as well as his interests. May we have many more years of trade and peace.” Amarantha said sweetly, her hooded eyes watching Beron carefully as he savoured the ego stroke with a long sip of wine.
Everyone toasted but before you could even let the wine hit your tongue, you noticed your Lord struggling to speak. His glass fell from his grip, shattering on the floor, as he felt his power slipping away from him. You watched his skin change to a cooler tone, his body sagging as if it couldn’t even hold his own weight, while Amarantha laughed gleefully.
“What’s wrong, Beron? Choking on your own ambition? Or is it mine?” She snarled as Eris and his brothers immediately went to attack. Beron tried to send out a flame but all that came from his hand was a small tuft of smoke, his mouth agape in horror as well as everyone else’s.
She had stolen his power.
“Now boys, you know you are no match for me,” Amarantha chided as she sent them flying back with a wave of her hand, the doors to the dining hall bursting open to reveal a massive army of fae who were armed to the teeth. “Or my army. I would surrender now if I were you, Lord Beron.”
Beron stared at her with a gaze that could kill, his mouth tight as he used what was left of his strength to grab a nearby knife and slice her arm. She hissed, watching the blood stream down her dress, before the wound healed quickly.
“You retched whore, I will have your head for this.” Beron swore as he lunged again. Amarantha was faster though, dodging his attack and pinning his arm behind his head so that the knife was now pressed to his neck.
“Take the Lord and his family, kill the rest.” She ordered her army, not even sparing a glance to the innocent faes that were now running to escape. The armoured fae were quick to the slaughter, blood splattering across the walls as your brain tried to catch up with what was happening.
“Run!” Eris’s voice cut through the chaos, your eyes meeting his in utter fear. You swiftly rose from your seat and looked to one of the windows, your heart pounding in your chest as you began to weave and dodge through the mass of bodies and swords.
The air was burning in your lungs as adrenaline pumped through your body. You ducked down as one of her men tried to take your head, sliding underneath his legs as the window became closer and closer. It was becoming quieter and quieter as all of your family and friends became collateral to whatever Amarantha was starting, and you knew your window of opportunity was closing rapidly.
You used all your strength to break through the balcony windows, not even noticing the sting of the glass against your skin as you grabbed onto the ledge to try and swing out over the roaring waterfall below you.
Time seemed to slow down as you turned to cast one last look of the massacare behind you, stomach churning violently before you saw Eris being hoisted up by one of the men. His eyes were panicked, searching the bodies for yours, until he landed on your shadowy figure hanging on by a thread.
Every fiber of your being wanted to help him, to try and free him for whatever hell was about to endure, but Eris shook his head and mouthed, “Go. Now.” as the guard turned to follow his gaze.
It felt as if your very soul was being snatched from your heart as you blinked away the tears, closing your eyes and whispering, “I’ll find you, Eris.” before you let your hand open and you fell into the rigid waters below. Two of her men barely missed you, watching your body hit the water forcefully, before deciding you good as dead and turning back inside.
As your body became swallowed by the falls, you were going in and out of consciousness. The impact had hurt you greatly. It felt like you had been slammed into a wall of cement and as you continued to struggle against the waves and churning of it, your air was beginning to run out.
You could feel the seconds tick by as you desperately tried to break to the surface, your muscles screaming in protest, and a small part of you wondered if you should just let it end here. Whatever was happening in Pyrthian was just the beginning and with everything you had just lost, what was the point? Where could you go?
The thoughts had you pulling back your strength, your eyes closing in acceptance, before Eris’s face flashed vividly in your mind. He was still alive, being marched to Cauldron knows where, but he was alive.
And as long as he was, you were too.
Your eyes opened in fierce determintation as you reached out for the surface once more, your hand wrapping around the branch of a tree as you pulled yourself up and onto the river bank with your last, gasping breath.
The river roaring behind you seemed to be all you could hear as you took in as much air as you could, laying face down in the sharp pebbles while regaining your strength.
Time was an illusion as you rolled onto your back, staring into the night sky as small shivers started to shake your body. The moon was high in the sky and you realized that you were in the middle of the forest, with no supplies, and close to freezing to death.
Pushing yourself up on unsteady legs you began to make your trek through the forest, finding a small cave where you hunkered down for the night as you lit a fire to keep you warm. The forest was alive with sound, crickets chirping and foxes hunting, as if it had no knowledge of what was happening around it.
You took comfort in that, in how life survived even in times like these. The Earth was resilient and as of now, you would have to be too. You needed to become more than a pretty fae in court.
You had to become a weapon if you were going to survive.
51 Years Later
Every night you thought about Eris, your family and friends, and that hateful witch who had taken over. You could never stay in a place too long, disgusing yourself as a mercenary in the mortal lands to avoid getting caught by one of Amarantha’s henchmen, but you never forget where you came from.
At first you had planned to attack her and her men in the middle of the nights, spying on them like Eris had taught you when he took you on hunting trips, but it fell apart when you realized the gravity of the situation.
She hadn’t just taken Beron’s powers…she had taken everyones. Within a few weeks she had control over all of Pyrthian and had taken refuge Under The Mountain where the horrors of her court were whispered in taverns and castles.
You had quickly realized you could not take her down, not alone, and the one time you had tried to organzie a rebellion they had turned on each other and almost caused you to be caught.
So you became normal, doing menial tasks for poor pay in order to survive in hopes of one day avenging your court and family. It was what kept you going. Hope was all you had left.
It wasn’t until a few months ago you heard that some human girl, Feyre, had bravely gone and beaten Amarantha and her entire group of vermin. She had died in the battle but with the newly returned powers of all of the High Lords, she had been Made again as a faerie.
Most of the mortals scoffed at the idea of it, seeing her as a traitor more than a martyr, but what little fae you knew in the mortal lands regarded her as a saviour.
Feyre Cursebreaker was what they called her, a fitting name for her deeds. Some of your aquantinces had started to make their trip back to the wall to see if it was true, something you hadn’t had the guts to do, only to never be heard from again.
That could only mean two things and with all the hell you had been through, you assumed the worst. Until one night, while drinking cheap wine, you heard his name.
“Eris is sure to fit in for his father when the time comes. Beron already showed his weakness when everything happened, it was the reason Amarantha chose him to start with, and his sons pridefulness is just like his.” One of the dark haired fae stated beside you, scoffing.
“What did you say?” You turned to ask, voice low and slightly desperate. “Are they back in the Autumn Court?”
The two fae gave you a long stare, probably taking note of your autumnesque features, before chuckling. “They’ve been back, kid. Have you not heard about Feyre Cursebreaker? She-”
“Of course I’ve heard of her. I just didn’t know if it was mere gossip or if she actually freed them.” You retorted snarkily, frowning at them as they shook their heads at your words. “But it is true?”
“Yes, as is our words about Beron and his bastard sons.” The dark hair oned huffed, sneering at the thought of them. “I would keep your distance from the Autumn Court, girl, even if it is where you hail from. That mountain changed everyone.”
You looked down at your wine, the dark scarlet swirling around just like it had that night. The screams of your friends, Eris’s deseperate plea, it was like the glass was taunting you into reliving it over again. It seemed to know you were too scared to go back and face what happened.
But as you looked out the window and into the warm, sunny day, you thought back to that first night in the cave. Everything around you had adapted to life but that didn’t mean it stopped there, it changed every day and sometimes…sometimes it took leaps of faith.
The two fae watched as you slammed money down and headed outside, shrugging their shoulders at your stubbornness. You brushed past everyone with little regard, eyes dead set on the wall that was growing closer with each step.
It was as ominous as you remembered, vibrating with magical energy. Your bravery faltered in the fear of the unknown but you pushed past it, steeling yourself as you walked through and into the warm air of the Spring Court. You braced yourself for someone to strike you down, for your throat to be slashed or stomach slit, but it never came.
Instead all you heard was peace. The birds were singing, the sun warm on your skin, and it was like the land was welcoming you back. You couldn’t stop the laugh that bubbled in your chest as you sank to the ground and buried your fingers into the earth.
You could feel it healing, could feel it singing in praise as the past became the past. It made you giddy with excitement and without a moment to lose, you threw off your tattered cloak and began your trek to the Autumn Court.
Hours flew by and for the first time in forever, you couldn’t feel it. The only emotion that was occurring was hope as the border got closer. Trees started to turn orange and red, the familiar wind of Autumn wrapping around you like a warm hug.
And when you made the final step into the forest…you felt tranquility. After fifty one years, you were home. You were where you belonged. It was a feeling you wish you could bottle up and keep forever.
A twig snapped behind you and you whipped around to see an Autumn Court sentry, his arrow pointed directly at you. “Who are you and what are you doing here?” He yelled, eyes as cold as stone.
Before you could explain yourself, instinct took over and you took off. The arrow flew past your head but from your time in the woods, you knew exactly where to go. People were shouting behind you, hounds howling as they started to track you, but you were running on utter impulse.
No one could catch you, not even their trained dogs, as you slid down to the river bank and leapt across the roaring waters. The logical part of your brain was begging you to stop and explain but you couldn’t risk it, weaving between the trees until you were sure you had lost them.
Your back hit the large oak behind you with a thud as you caught your breath, listening for any sounds. It was quiet though, not even the hounds barking, and when you turned to peak around the trunk you felt a burning fire wrap around your legs and drag you out of your hiding spot.
“No! No! Let me go!” You screamed, thrashing erratically as you came to a stop and a large, warm hand hoisted you up roughly by your shoulders. “I swear on the Mother I will-”
“Y/N?” Eris said in disbelief, eyebrows furrowed in shock as you stared into those eyes that had kept you company all these years.
He was alive and standing before you, his grip unbelievably tight as you felt hot tears well in your eyes. Your mouth opened and closed for a moment, relief and disbelief mixing in a confusing cocktail.
“Eris…” You breathed, the tears now flowing freely. “It is you.”
The binds of fire vanished around your legs as he pulled you into a crushing hug, breathing in the scent of your hair as you broke down in his arms. You tried to touch every part of him, feeling the muscles in his back before moving to grasp his hair.
Words could not describe what you were feeling, what he was feeling, but they were not needed. The wind picked up around the two of you, leaves twirling around in a dance of harmony as you both sunk to your knees and held each other for who knows how long.
Any questions either of you had were on the back burner. For now, you wanted to stay in this moment with him forever.
(eris x reader)
a/n: some angsty, steamy action for our sexy autumn high lord.
request: Eris x reader fict where bond snaps into place but the reader is seeing one of his brother? I can imagine Eris being competitive and jealous of his brother. Once he woos the reader I can see him saying “Does my brother make you feel this good? Does he know your body like I do? Can he make it sing like me?”
It was wrong.
But as Eris drags you into one of the empty bedchambers of the Forest House, you couldn't bring yourself to care that you were betrothed to his younger brother. Especially not when his lips leave a trail of heat over your exposed skin.
The thought of your future groom was so far from your mind that he could’ve taken a dip in the Cauldron right in front of you and you wouldn’t have bat an eyelash.
The engagement between you and the second eldest Vanserra was one that would solidify an alliance between both the oldest and noblest houses of the Autumn Court, an arrangement that took months of careful consideration and political maneuvering between the High Lord and the Duke of Arbor, the patriarch of the richest family in these lands—your family, second only to the Vanserras.
If only the High Lord and the Duke could see you now. Desperate, needy, and hungry for Eris as his eager lips devours the hollow of your throat.
Downstairs, the revelry of the Court echoes through the pale stone walls of the Forest House as both of your families commemorate the negotiation of your dowry. As if you were a brood mare to be given away to the highest bidder.
You huff in indignation, tugging harshly at the fiery locks of the future High Lord. He smirks against your skin, nuzzling his freckled nose against the pulsating vein in your neck. He grazes his teeth over it, licking and teasing as his laughter skitters through you.
"Tell me what's awakened that famous temper of yours, little fox."
The tiny sliver of logic and sense made you take a step away from Eris, fidgeting with the front of your unlaced corset and wondering how you found yourself in this mess.
One second you were dancing with your betrothed, doing your best to plaster on a smile for the sake of the watchful eyes of the Court, and the next moment you found yourself locking eyes with Eris, his sharp gaze burning holes at his brother's back while his jaw twitched in vexation. He hadn't said a single word to you all night until you excused yourself for fresh air. That's when the eldest Vanserra cornered you in the dark corridor, kissing you with fervent passion and anguish as though it pained him to deprive himself of your taste.
You didn't even think twice before kissing him back and it was natural instinct that drove you to wrap your legs around his waist as he carried you upstairs, but now, as the veil of lust lifted, the gravity of the situation dawned on you.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" you hiss, placing some well needed distance between you. Eris follows as you pace through the room, backing you against the wall. "Have you lost your mind? I am betrothed to your brother. We are to be wed in a fortnight."
His gaze darkens as his fingers crawl along your thighs, disappearing beneath the fabric of your dress as his lips find yours again. You can't help the soft, breathy whine that escapes your mouth as Eris kisses you, slow and sensual, as though he was committing your taste to memory. When his tongue prods for entrance, your legs snake around his trim waist, pulling him closer until your back is pressed up against the wall as he effortlessly holds you up.
"Does my brother make you feel this good?" His voice is low and rich with arousal, a seductive song in your ears. Eris unlaces your corset and the cold surface of his rings meets the warm skin of your breasts, making you shudder all over. Your sensitive peaks harden as he swirls his thumb against your nipples. "Does he know your body like I do? Can he make it sing like I can?”
Your eyes flutter close, losing yourself in the warmth and sensation of the male beneath you. It was enough to make you forget all about your groom, about the party downstairs, about the impossible expectations of your parents. You pant as Eris kisses you once more, setting you down on a wooden dresser. It's only when a glass decanter shatters on the concrete floor when you finally snap back to your senses.
"I am not some prize to be fought over by two brothers," you state fiercely. "So tell me Eris, what happens when the thrill of the chase wears off? When you finally have me, are you content to return me to my groom to serve as another reminder that you will always get what you want? The crown. The kingdom. The bride."
A simmering fire burns within the molten gaze of the Autumn lordling. Ever the sly fox, you've never seen Eris lose his composure before, but you knew the temper that lie beneath his aloof smiles and perfect etiquette. There was a fury in Eris that you recognized. You saw it every time you looked in the mirror.
Eris cages you in with his arms, bracing his shaking hands on either side of your head as his hot breath fans over your skin.
"Is that what you think this is about?" Eris asks with a snarl, barely containing the rage within. "Some petty game between brothers? Do you think I would endanger everything I've worked so hard for just for a simple fuck?"
You cross your arms and meet his fierceness with your own. Growing up in the court of foxes, you'd learned to be wary of everyone's intentions. The residents of the Forest House were always after something. Money. Power. Sex. Eris had all three in the palm of his hands. It didn't make much sense for him to chase after you.
Not when you'd spent your entire life loving him.
"Then what is it, Eris?" You question with a boldness that Eris had never once seen in any other member of this court. Most shied away from his gaze, some even went out of their way to avoid his presence, ducking through dark hallways while muttering excuses as he strolled through the corridors with the authority afforded to him as heir, well aware of the cruelty and ruthlessness that tainted the blood of the fox. But not you. Never you. You saw him. You had always seen him and he'd been an idiot to deny his feelings for you, even if it was for your own safety.
"We've known each other since we were babes. Why seduce me now if not for the purpose of taking yet another possession from your brother's clutches?"
The redhaired male snarls. "You are not my brother's to claim."
"I am his betrothed," you argue.
"I don't give a fuck what our families negotiated. You are mine just as I am yours."
You laugh mirthlessly. "All my life, males have tried to control me. To claim me. I know what it's like to want something you can't have, but trust me, the novelty of possessing what's forbidden will wear off as soon as you have your fill of me. Perhaps we should quit while we're ahead and return to the festivities with the rest of our families. With my groom."
"Do you want to marry him?"
The question stops you dead in your tracks. Throughout this whole engagement—no one, not a single living creature—has ever asked what you wanted. Everything was about duty. Family. Honor. There has never been room for desire, happiness, or love. In the ruthless lands of the place you called home, those things were little more than a fairytale. A luxury that a female of your station couldn’t afford.
"He is my betrothed,'' you repeat.
"Do you love him?" Eris asks softly.
"That is of no consequence. I will perform my duties as his bride and wife, just as your brother will stand by my side as my groom and husband."
Something unreadable flashes across his face. "Answer the question," he grits through perfectly straight teeth. "Do you love him?"
For the first time in centuries, you avert his gaze. Gently, Eris lifts your chin up towards him. When his eyes meet yours, you feel an unexplainable tug between you. Like an invisible thread of fire connecting your very souls.
Silver lines your eyes as you look up at Eris. "No, I don't."
Eris smiles softly. "I know, sweetheart. I can feel it."
The thread of fire snakes through the small space separating you, warming your chest as it coils around your heart. Through some unknown force, a mixture of emotions surges down that bond and you feel every bit of longing, yearning, and seeking that Eris felt. It was like you were seeing into his soul. Realization dawns on you like the break of day.
“What is this?”
Amber eyes bore into yours and the mask falls. Gone was the ruthless heir and in his place stood Eris. The real Eris.
“I think you know,” he states.
The silence stretches as he opens himself up to you. A bevy of emotions courses through that connection and that four letter word echoes in your mind.
"You're my mate."
Your voice is little more than a whisper, but you've never been more sure of anything in your immortal life. This male before you, he was the answer to the song singing in your veins. Eris is your mate.
"How long have you known?"
"I have always suspected. Since I was old enough to understand love, I think I realized that it was you. It's always been you. At first I thought I was going out of my mind. I couldn't stop thinking about you. Dreaming of you. Finding any little reason to be around you. But even when my mother explained what love was supposed to feel like, it paled in comparison to what I felt for you."
Warmth spreads to your chest. "And you've been keeping it to yourself this whole time?"
Eris reaches for your hand, his expression nervous and uncertain. So unlike the well-crafted mask of the cruel, ruthless heir he was forced to don. "I wanted to keep you safe. If my father ever found out, it would place you in immediate danger. You are my true weakness. The one vulnerability that I did not wish to expose to those around us for fear of what they may do when they learn how precious you are to me."
Determination blazes in his eyes as he clutches your face between his hands. "And now, I would burn this entire Court to the ground should they attempt to take you away from me." He cups your cheek, shuddering a breath. "This engagement has forced me to reveal my hand. The plan was to amass enough power and influence to overthrow my father and I was wholly prepared to play the long game, but then he suggested your marriage to my brother. And I cannot stand by and let you go through with this farce without telling you the truth."
"What is the truth?" you ask softly. "That by some chance of fate, the Cauldron made us mates? Would you truly risk everything—your crown, your kingdom, your power because some higher force binds us together?"
Eris knew what you were truly asking. Had known you long enough to understand the meaning behind your words. Though you appeared cunning and callous to the rest of the realm, Eris saw the real you.
"The higher power that binds us is not the Cauldron," he states with absolute certainty. "It's love."
"I love you not because of some mystic force of magic, but because even in this court of corruption and greed, you refuse to let it choke your ability to become more. You dream of a better world, just as I do. You are kind, sweet, irreverent, and hot tempered to a fault, but fiercely loyal and a champion for those who cannot fight for themselves." He smiles at the surprise that lights your features. "Did you really think that I'd believe for one second that the Duke of Arbor suddenly had a change of heart and abolished indentured servitude of the farmers of Redwine out of his own accord? No, that was all you. As clever and capable as I've always known you to be."
"The point is, I see you. Just as you see me. You've never once believed the cold blooded act that I have had to play for the benefit of this Court."
You smile. "That's because I know who you truly are. You're still the kindhearted male that defended me from the horrid bullies of my childhood, the same Eris that leaves food on the doors of the less fortunate, the one that works behind the scenes to uphold the good of this Court. You are a good, decent male, Eris. Despite everything you've endured. And that is why I love you."
Eris releases a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. Hearing you say it, uttering those three little words, lifted the weight of the realm off his shoulders.
You cradle his cheek in your hands as his eyes flutter close, tears streaming down his face. "I am honored to be your mate."
Eris is wholly still as you kiss his tears away, pecking at his cheek, his nose, the corner of his mouth. His fingers twine in your hair as he pulls you close, grazing his lips against yours ever so gently.
"You're not marrying my brother."
“No,” you answer definitively.
“I am your mate and you are mine.” Eris places your hand over his chest. “My heart is a bruised and tattered thing, shrouded in a crown of thorns, but it is yours. Yours and no one else’s.”
You smile, radiant and bright. “I am your mate and you are mine,” you repeat. “My heart is yours and no one else’s.”
Your mate lifts you gently, discarding you on the bed with a softness that takes you by surprise. Eris smiles as he takes you in. He couldn’t quite believe that you were truly here with him. His mate. Despite the messy path that led to this moment and the landline that you two would surely have to navigate through in the morning, Eris set those thoughts aside and focused on unraveling the laces of your corset.
The silky fabric of your dress slides off without effort, revealing your tanned skin and soft curves. Eris worships every inch, leaving a trail of kisses in his wake as he whispers sweet nothings from your navel to your collarbone. You lift the hem of his billowing shirt, sighing in appreciation at the sight of his perfectly sculpted torso. The faelights glimmer against his russet locks as you reach for the front of his trousers. Eris watches in silence as you release his long, aching length.
A burning desire churns in your core as you line him up at your entrance. Eris is completely entranced by you, content to let you take the lead and set the pace despite the fact that he’s thought about this moment almost obsessively, agonizing over every detail in his mind while never knowing if he’d even get the chance to be intimate with you in this way.
Now that you were here, now that this was actually happening, every fantasy that replayed in his head over the duration of knowing you were his mate didn’t even come close to the real thing.
Eris groans as his cock slides between your slick folds. You gasp as your body adjusts to take all of him in. Eris pushes and pushes until you finally feel it—sweet relief.
“Are you alright, sweetheart?” He whispers softly.
You blink back the tears and nod at your mate. “Yes.”
“Can I move?”
Eris grunts in response. You sound so pretty when you’re pleading and perhaps he’d draw out that side of you at another time, make you beg for pleasure until he’s making you cum with his mouth and fingers, but not tonight. He’d waited too long already. Tonight, he’ll have all of you.
You moan as Eris slowly thrusts into you, carefully scanning your face for every subtle change in your expression.
“So beautiful,” Eris whispers as he presses his forehead against yours. “I’ve waited all my life for you.”
“I’m here now,” you respond, caressing his cheek. “And I’m not going anywhere.”
You lift your hips, rolling to take more of him in. Eris grunts as he fully sheathes himself inside of you, that bond of yours glowing in his heart. You wrap your legs around him, pulling him closer as your minds, bodies, and souls merge into one.
Your mate. Your strong, beautiful mate.
Teeth clash against teeth, tongues dance, and nails rake over skin as Eris drives deep inside of you. The sensation was unlike anything you’ve ever felt before. The thread of fire twines between you and Eris, solidifying the bond.
Locking your hips, you flip over and pin your mate beneath you. Eris grips your waist, watching with dark eyes as you drag your way up and up until only his tip is sheathed inside you. He holds his breath as you ride him, savoring the feeling of your walls clenching around him and hugging his cock with a snug grip.
Your breasts slide against his chest as you drag your teeth over his neck and he responds with a buck of his hips, igniting that familiar feeling in your core. Eris groans at the sensation of you clenching around his length, locking him in place as you ride him with reckless abandon. Not once has he ever felt this way before. Utterly out of his mind. Completely euphoric as you moan his name.
The thread of fire intertwines you together. Eris threads his fingers through your hair, pressing his forehead against yours.
“Look at me, sweetheart.”
You whimper, beholding all the passion and heat in your mate’s eyes. Eris blinks and warmth ripples through the connection. Love in its purest and most potent form wraps its claws around your heart and squeezes.
“My mate,” Eris breathes. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
With a sharp thrust, you completely unravel. The pleasure that racks through your body is unlike anything you’ve ever felt before. Eris coaxes you through it before he’s pushing over the edge, whispering sweet nothings into your ear while he fills you with his arousal.
For a moment, time itself yields to this moment as Eris wraps his arms around you. You’re sobbing fat, happy tears as your mate gently caresses your back. Then joy cascades into fear when you realize that you were still betrothed and Eris is still locked in a political landmine with his sire.
“What happens now?” you ask quietly.
Eris tucks a strand of hair behind your pointed ear. “I call my favor in with Rhysand. With the support of my allies, I will finally rid this court of my father. I will sit on the throne. With you beside me. Ruling as one.”
You gape at your mate. “You would truly share your power? Your throne? Your kingdom?”
He smiles as though your surprise is the most amusing thing in the realm. “You are the other half of my heart. The light to my dark soul. My equal, in every way.” Eris cups your cheek. “I will make you my High Lady, if it pleases you.”
You kiss him, soft and gentle, conveying your answer. “Nothing would please me more, my High Lord.”
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me: and i honestly feel like people don’t realise that eris vanserra is a character with probably the most potential in the series, if only due to the tragic nature of his character. i mean, he spent his entire life hiding behind a mask. imagine devoting centuries of your existence to a persona you despise but are forced to rely on. losing himself in one form of cruelty to, ironically, shield his loved ones from another. he’s so tormented and the poetic arc of his character just really gets me, you know?
girl at the bar: i think i see my friends
Nesta Archeron x Eris Vanserra. The plot to steal Autumn. An alliance bound in blood and gold. Whispers in the dark. The scratch of pen on paper. Hope. Rebellion. Fire.
Almost every ACOSF au > the reality
Art by Eltheric Arts/ Elithien Art
I’ve Always Liked to Play With Fire (part 3)
NESTA ARCHERON X FEMALE!READER (future Neris x reader)
summary: You and Nesta have made a plan, and now it’s time to put it into action
warnings: angst, more inner circle slander lmao
word count: 2.9k
DO NOT REPOST ANYWHERE
a/n: sorry this is so short! It’s a bit of a filler chapter but things will pick up soon. It’s a bit slow right now because it’s an extreme slowburn fic but I have so many big plans for it! Eris won’t appear until part 5 probably but I promise it will be worth it
feedback is appreciated, just no hate pls! these are just my opinons, im more curious to see how you all like the writing and characterization and storylines!
The first rays of sun crept their way into the room, illuminating the navy sheets with a soft golden glow. You blinked the sleep from your eyes, your surroundings beginning to sharpen. With a jolt, you noticed how Nesta’s head had migrated onto your pillow, gently crooked against your shoulder. Her long legs gently brushed against yours underneath the sheets, cold despite the warmth of the blanket.
You took a moment to gaze at her sleeping form. Her face was relaxed for once – her eyebrows were not drawn together in a glare, nor her lips twisted downward into a frown. That chestnut golden hair you loved had come undone, waving down her shoulders like honey. She snored slightly, a soft sound indicating she was not suffering from the nightmares you knew plagued her throughout the night. She looked like a gift from the Mother herself, an ethereal being sent from another world. Truthfully, you could have spent hours gazing at her, but with a heavy heart you untangled your legs from hers, and gently lifted her head from your shoulder before crawling out of the bed and silently slipping back into your room.
You both knew what you had to do next. Nesta had mentioned that Azriel liked to get up early discreetly and take his breakfasts in the big dining area, rather than sit on the stools at the kitchen countertops like you and Nesta frequently did. You knew he did it to keep an eye on the female but without getting into her space, and it made the perfect stage.
Once in your room, you bathed with lavender-scented soap, careful to wash any trace of Nesta’s scent off of you. You hated scrubbing yourself so viciously, as if her essence was poison to your skin, but you knew that Azriel would pick up on it. The water was so hot it almost burned, but you let it fuel you with fire.
You didn’t want to stage a fake fight with Nesta. Truthfully, you should have planned it beforehand. You had no idea what you were going to say, or her. All you could do was hope that it would fool everyone.
After drying off and braiding your hair back, you slipped on a pink gown from the closet, smoothing the skirt and taking a deep breath before heading to the kitchen. You had no idea if Azriel was actually in the other room or not, nor did you dare peek through the window as you walked by to check. You just had to pray Nesta was right.
Taking a seat at the stool next to the counter, you grabbed a pancake from the stack placed in front of you. Normally you loved the food in the House of Wind, but today it tasted like ash in your mouth as your stomach churned with anxiety. Would you and Nesta really be able to manipulate the Inner Circle and pull this off? Sure, they’d easily believe that you and her would get into a fight, but you had to be careful. If you two moved too quickly to cooperation, they would get suspicious. The fine line you and Nesta were balancing on was tedious at best, and you only hoped you didn’t make things worse.
Silently, Nesta entered the room. Rather than sitting beside you as she had been lately, she simply grabbed a cup of tea and perched herself on the other end of the counter, not sparing you a glance.
This is it. You thought to yourself with a nervous swallow. Showtime.
“You ok?” You began carefully, unsure how to initiate the fake fight. Nesta ignored you, not even blinking once to acknowledge your presence.
So you tried again, knowing where it was heading. “I just wanted to say thank you for standing up for me last night. Against Rhysand. I appreciate it.”
Nesta was quiet for a moment, then laughed bitterly. It was cold, utterly heartless. “I didn’t do it for you.”
“What do you mean?” You asked, acting puzzled. Finally, Nesta turned to actually face you. There was no trace of warmth in her gaze, no evidence of the soft, gentleness in her features that was there this morning. Slate blue eyes stared at you like chips of ice, unfeeling.
“That dinner was meant to humiliate me, not you.” Nesta snapped. “So don’t pretend you’re the victim of all of this. I wasn’t about to let them walk all over me like dirt.”
“I never said that,” You insisted. “I just meant–”
“I don’t care what you meant,” She interrupted sharply. “I’m not your shield to protect you from them, so don’t treat me like one.”
You kept reminding yourself over and over again that this fight wasn’t real, that it was all just temporary. But you could not keep the bite out of your voice.
“I didn’t ask for you to challenge him like that,” You hissed. “So don’t blame me for your choice just because it’s going to have consequences like you being stuck up here for even longer. I stuck up for you too, you know. And I don’t see you bitching about it.”
“Am I supposed to thank you?” Nesta laughed sharply.
“Friends look out for each other, so maybe, yeah!”
“We are not friends.”
The words hit you like a ton of bricks. You went still, not having to fake your reaction. You knew this was planned, but her words cut you nonetheless. It’s just pretend, you kept telling yourself.
“We aren’t friends, are we?” Your voice was full of venom, not all of it forced. “Who else do you have, Nesta? Who have you not pushed away yet? I am the only person who likes you right now, but you’re making it really fucking hard.”
“I don’t care if you like me or not.”
“Do you care if I hate you?”
“Go ahead, everyone else does. Maybe you can join them now.”
“I see why they do now.”
This time, it was Nesta’s turn to flinch. You regretted the words as soon as you said them. You and her had not discussed how far to push, what limits were in place. Something told you that her flinch was not a planned reaction – your words struck hard, visibly twisting her expression into something else. The fire in her eyes was quenched momentarily, overwhelmed with hurt for a split second before her cold gaze returned.
“Well next time they come to force you to help them, don’t come crying to me about it.” Nesta’s voice didn’t have the same bite to it as it did before – it wobbled slightly at the end, her chin lifting higher as if she could keep at bay any tears that threatened to spill down her cheeks. She stood up, leaving her untouched cup of tea on the counter and storming out.
You watched her go, anxiety pooling in your stomach. Had Azriel heard your fight? Did he believe it was real? You really hoped so, for the thought of having to redo an argument with Nesta filled you with dread. Picking at the food on your plate, you told yourself over and over again that none of what you guys said was real, that neither of you actually meant what you had said.
You couldn’t get the image of Nesta’s face out of your head as you told her you can see why the Inner Circle hates her, the way it changed from anger to sadness as if she wasn’t acting at all. You knew something had happened between her and Rhysand’s court that had made those specific words twist her gut like a knife – either that or she was just a really, really good actress.
We are not friends.
That phrase Nesta had spat out congested your thoughts like a swarm of bees. You knew she said it for the sake of the fight, but was there an extent of truth to it? The two of you only crossed paths because you were both prisoners of some sort to the Night Court. You doubted that you’d have met her otherwise, or if she even would have given you a second glance. All your time spent reading books in silence or sipping tea on the balcony, you wondered if it was only because you two just happened to be the only females in the House of Wind.
Did Nesta see you as a friend? You couldn’t figure out your dynamic still – it had only been a short amount of time since you met her, yet it felt like you had known her your whole life. Part of you felt something else for her though, something like friendship but different. You felt like a crushing schoolgirl, but for some reason it felt deeper than that. The fierceness with which she stood up for you at the dinner, the way you two got comfortable with each other so easily, and how you could just tell if she was in the library or not… there was something between you two that you couldn’t figure out what it was.
You weren’t stupid enough to believe that she reciprocated whatever strange feelings you had towards her. Stories of Nesta and Cassian during the way with Hybern crept into every village on Prythian – how she and the war general shared a kiss during the end of the world, wishing they’d had more time together. How Nesta had covered Cassian’s wounded body with her own, preparing to die with him. It was clear that there was something between the Cauldron-born female and the Illyrian general.
What you didn’t know, however, was what happened to them after the war. Whatever had been blossoming between them showed no signs of being present now. Nesta had not spoken about Cassian specifically, snapping at him whenever he tried to tease her around the House. If you hadn’t known about their moment during the war, you’d have thought she hated him. No trace of a promise to die together lingered between the two, only cold empty space. You could tell Cassian was trying with her, in his own unhelpful way. You respected him for it, but wanted to shake him by his obnoxiously broad shoulders and tell him that trying to mold her into a warrior to fight side by side with him was NOT the way to get Nesta to open up.
Cassian was part of the Inner Circle, yet he didn’t appear to be sticking up for Nesta, even after what apparently happened between them during the war. He was Rhysand’s good little soldier, doing his bidding whenever asked. You felt bad for him in a way, having caught glimpses of Cassian looking longingly at Nesta when she turned away from him. It was evident he cared for her in his own way.
But if he truly cared for her, he wouldn’t have let his High Lord and Lady lock Nesta up against her will.
After forcing yourself to eat another bite of your breakfast, you dumped your plate's remains in the bin and placed it in the sink. As you turned to leave, you didn’t dare glance in the direction you suspected Azriel was hidden. He gave no indication of his presence as you trudged up the hallway to your room.
It had been a few hours since your fake fight with Nesta, and you had remained in your room, sitting by the fireplace with a soft blanket wrapped around your shoulders. Part of you wondered if this plan was a bad idea. As much as you hated them, the Inner Circle was not stupid – they were a group with immense power and knowledge, who were used to sniffing out enemies.
You had felt Rhys and Feyre try and scrape the edges of your mind with their daemati abilities. Luckily, you had been taught from a young age how to shield your mind from such powers. But given what you had heard about the High Lord and Lady, if they really wanted to break your mind they probably could.
Then there was the Morrigan and her power of truth, whatever the fuck that meant. You had no idea what her abilities were other than winnowing and being unable to mind her own business. You had heard of how she fought in the war all those centuries ago, but that was it.
Amren, who you had grown up fearing, was no longer a threat apparently. She had lost her powers in the war, becoming just a high fae – you weren’t sure what she brought forth to the inner circle other than a bad attitude. And Cassian and Azriel were a whole other puzzle entirely.
You prayed none of them would figure out what you had planned with Nesta. Surely they’d believe easily that Nesta would eventually snap at you and damage whatever friendship you had, making it easier for them to swoop in and dig in their claws. That was the easy part, and now you had to keep up the act.
The hard part would be getting to Eris. Somehow, he was involved in the Night Court’s scheming. But you had known him since you became friends with his brother – he hated the Inner Circle, and surely was not working with them for any reason but his own secret agenda.
You guessed you and Eris had that in common, which would make him more inclined to help you. The stories of his cruelty made you uneasy – Lucien had always told you that his brother was too much like his father, relishing in the torment of others. But you had never seen that side of him. Sure, he was cold and untrustworthy, but he had never brought you any harm.
You had no choice but to trust him inevitably.
It would take a while before the Inner Circle would believe your act. They knew you and Nesta wouldn’t just change your minds overnight about working with them. It would take a few weeks, you suspected at the least. Nesta would gain Cassian’s trust, which left you with Azriel.
That’s where you were a little nervous. The spymaster was intimidating and hard to read, known for his unfeeling ability to pry information from enemies with Truth Teller. With Cassian assigned to work with Nesta, you did not doubt Azriel would be tasked with you. Rhysand would likely want to use you as a spy for the Spring Court, making you keep an eye on Tamlin instead of making Lucien do it. Azriel would likely be the one to oversee this, which made you nervous.
But you were willing to do whatever it took to get out of this situation. And maybe get a sense of justice, payback to Feyre for manipulating your own court.
As the fire began to die out, you took a look outside the window. The sun was beginning to set, which meant it was time to leave your first note for Nesta in one of the books. You two had agreed upon a system where you each pick a different book every week and leave notes in the chapters for the other. This week, Nesta would pick a smutty romance book with a red cover, and you would pick the same genre with a blue cover.
You knew Cassian and Azriel would be at dinner now. No doubt would Azriel be telling Cassian about the fight he overheard this morning – Cassian would insist on checking up on Nesta, and Azriel would convince him to give her, and you, some space. Neither Illyrian would be looking for you two, which made the perfect opportunity.
You crept down the hallway, treading as softly as you could. You did not know what spies and systems Azriel and the House had set up, but you wanted to move without being caught if you could. Holding your breath, you entered the reading nook you had shared with Nesta, note in hand. It read:
Nesta, I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I hated that fight, even though it was fake. I should have gone a different route with the argument. I care about you, and I don’t hate you and I never will.
Grabbing a blue cover from the romance section, you carefully inserted the note into the first chapter. While no other person in the House showed interest in the reading nook, you were nervous that someone would end up finding the note.
You scolded yourself for thinking like that, and shook your head. You had to trust that the plan would work. As quick and quietly as you entered, you left to return to your room.
When morning came, you forced yourself to sit through breakfast. Nesta was nowhere to be found, and you were itching to race to the bookshelf to see if your note was gone. But you had to wait until a bit later, when you normally took up residence in the reading nook. The wait was excruciating, but finally it was time.
As you scanned the shelves, your hand found a smutty book with a red cover – Nesta’s book. You didn’t even check to see if the note within your own book was gone, you just reached for this one like it was calling to you. Prying open the first couple pages, a piece of parchment slid into your palm. You practically tore it open.
It’s ok. You said what you needed to say. I think it worked, but we’ll find out tomorrow. Let’s get out of here together.
And so it began.
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The stuff you write is so cute! How about something fluffy when eris realizes he's with someone he can truly trust so he can just relax.
eris had a hard time trusting people. from the harsh expectations of his father and the constant competition with his brothers he felt as if he couldn't ever get a break. until he met you. you came into his life and turned it completely upside down, in a good way of course.
he longed for the quiet evenings he could spend with you it was his favorite to escape and fully relax around you. that's how he knew that he was in love with you, and you were the one for him.
it was a quiet evening the ones you and eris preferred the most. the two of you had already taken a warm bath together, eris had ran his fingers through your hair and massaged out any tension in your shoulders. you laid your head on his chest as you sat between his legs, and you felt just as happy as he did.
"eris, thank you for everything you do for me." you said to him as the two of you laid in bed, facing each other.
eris reached a hand up and ran it down your cheek as he looked you in your eyes. "why do you say that? I'm the one who should be thanking you."
you could only smile at him and shake your head in disbelief your kind eris that only you got to see, oh how you loved him so much. your heart fluttered in your chest as you looked at him.
"you just make me so happy, eris." you said to him as you tried to hide your face in your pillow.
"stop that, look at me." eris said as he gently grabbed you, making you look at him. "I'm the luckiest man on earth and it's all thanks to you. i love you so much, y/n thank you for everything you've done fo me."
he ended his sentence with a kiss on your forehead.
Eris: Wait, when we first met you told me you had a PhD. Are you saying you lied about your degree?
Azriel: Pretty huge dick
I don’t care at this point. I’m an Eris Vanserra gal’ until my death.
I got a treat for ya
Azriel x Eris
because we love an angry fuck and a smug asshole. commissioned by Acourtofari and the Council of Azris bless 🙏
azriel: you son of a bitch
eris: don't talk about my mother like that
azriel: i meant beron
eris: understandable, carry on then
Meant to Be
Azriel x Reader
Warnings: fluff, mutual pining, suggestive sexual behavior, angst angst angst angst (I’m warning you it's verryy angsty), canon typical violence, major bloodloss, character death
A/N: Okay this is the longest fic I have written so far and it might be the saddest thing I’ve ever written. It is loosely based on this lovely request. I took a few liberties with the plot, but I ended up really loving it and I hope you do too. <3
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Azriel sprinted through the woods.
He knew there wasn’t much time, and he was desperate. He continued trying to use his magic but the faebane coursing through his body prevented him from winnowing, from using his shadows, and from communicating to the high lord.
He was stranded.
He held your body close, attempting to shield you from the rain, although the storm was the least of his worries. He was most concerned about the deep gash across your abdomen, the wound had been steadily bleeding with no indication of slowing down. You had already lost so much blood, he needed to get you to a healer and quickly before it was too late. He pushed that thought out of his head. You would not die; He wouldn’t allow it.
He took a deep breath, praying to the mother that you would be alright. You suddenly stirred in his arms, the movement catching him off guard. You whimpered; the pain must be excruciating and the sound of you in pain ignited a raging fire beneath his skin.
Azriel held you closer, hoping that his scent would help calm you. Even though you didn’t know about the mating bond, he had to hope that your fae instincts would still recognize the connection and that it would help soothe you.
“Shhhh it’s alright little dove, I’ve got you” he whispered into your hair as he clutched you to his chest. The rain droplets steadily sliding off his skin and onto your face.
You coughed, it was a wet sputtering sound and Azriel looked down to find blood trickling out of your mouth. He fell to his knees cradling you in his arms. “Y/n, stay with me, just a little longer” he pleaded as your eyes closed once more.
You were still breathing, but only barely, a death rattle settling in as your body began to shut down. He picked you up in a swift motion leaping into the air, opening his wings wide as he took off. He knew the flight would only exacerbate your injuries, but he was running out of time. He had no other choice.
72 hours earlier…
Azriel had no idea why he was being summoned to the High Lord’s office, he had just seen Rhys and Feyre last night for dinner and he couldn’t fathom what was so urgent. That was until he walked into Rhys and Feyre’s office to find none other than Eris Vanserra engaged in a hearty conversation with his high lord and lady.
Eris had been a spy for the Night Court for some time now. It began a few years ago, during the war and as it turns out Eris was a decent male, he much like Rhys, had been perceived as a villain because his circumstances demanded it, Eris was the next in line to inherit the Autumn Court and once his father was dead and he could ascended the throne he ensured them that a series of changes would happen in the Autumn Court.
Eris greeted Azriel with a simple nod of his head and began to share his information, what pained the shadowsinger was that it was good information and was the key to a number of issues that had been steadily piling up.
Apparently, Beron had been busy these last few weeks, building alliances with some of the more traditional Illyrian Lords attempting to persuade them into a full-blown rebellion against Rhysand. This wasn’t surprising considering Azriel’s own reports stated that there was increased tension and unease within the training camps. What Eris revealed is that the incidents that were drawing attention were staged to draw out the more powerful members of the court. Beron had been hoping to kidnap a member of the inner circle for leverage. Thankfully, it wasn’t going according to plan.
That information caught the High Lord’s attention. Rhysand immediately laid out his plan, he wanted to infiltrate Beron’s ranks, to find who exactly was calling the shots.
Which was why he summoned y/n.
Azriel shifted in his seat. He knew y/n was capable, he had trained her himself but that meant he would be in close proximity to her which might prove to be a problem considering she was his mate, and she had no idea and Azriel was content to keep it that way for now.
There was a quiet knock on the door.
“Come in” Feyre yelled
The door opened and in walked y/n, Azriel couldn’t help but admire her as she made her way across the room to them.
“Y/n, thank you for joining us on such short notice” Rhysand said
“Of course, it sounded urgent, and your letter said it was time sensitive” she said taking her seat opposite Azriel
“It is, Eris has told us that there’s going to be a ball in the Autumn Court tomorrow evening, and I want you and Azriel to attend as emissaries to the Night Court.” Rhysand began “You’ll be gathering information on Beron’s dealings, who he sees and what they discuss but I do not want either of you to engage. This is strictly reconnaissance. From an outside perspective you will purely be there as my emissaries for the Fall Equinox”
“When will we leave” Azriel asked
“Today” the high lord answered “I want you to arrive with all the other guests, it’ll make it easier to blend in”
Y/n nodded along through the remaining details, they would be staying in the Forest House with the other guests attending the festivities and Eris would alert them of any activity they should be privy to.
Azriel and Y/n packed quickly, said their goodbyes and they began the long journey to the Autumn Court.
After nearly 24 hours of traveling, taking lots of breaks for Azriel to rest between distances we arrived in the Autumn Court.
It wasn’t what I expected.
I guess hearing stories from Lucien and Eris about their father and their upbringing I somewhat expected the Forest House to be more ominous looking. Azriel and I exchanged a quick glance as we walked up to the gates of a gorgeous stone manor with lots of windows, surrounded by changing greenery. The trees varying shades of violet, red, orange, and yellows. It was idyllic really.
When we reached the doors, Azriel reached to grab the elegant bronze fox door knocker, hitting it against the wood to alert our hosts we had arrived. I wrung my hands in front of me, nervous as the door opened to reveal Eris? I was surprised he answered and not one of the servants in the house. He opened the door and gestured for us to enter, he was trailed by three massive black dogs, with a snap of his fingers they immediately ran off in a tight formation.
“Welcome to the Forest House” he said, making a show of taking my hand and planting a kiss to the top of it. Azriel looked annoyed at that gesture. I didn’t mind, it was all about appearances and we didn’t know who was watching us.
As we walked through the halls of the manor, I took in the paintings lining the long halls and the dark décor that adorned the house. It felt like we walked for ages, through winding halls until we stood outside double white doors.
“This is where you’ll be staying, remember that the ball is tonight in the west ballroom, formal dress, and don’t be late you don’t want to draw attention to yourselves” Eris said before unlocking the door and stalking down the hall back the way we had come.
Azriel and I looked at each other and entered the room.
It was really a stunning space, we were on the fourth floor and the window overlooked the trees in the forest surrounding us, it was an array of orange, red, and violet as far as I could see. There was a fireplace and a sitting area with a couch and some armchairs. The chairs nowhere near large enough to accommodate Azriel’s wings. I took in the other aspects of the room. there was an ensuite bathroom with a large sunken bath and a shower, at least the bath was large enough for an Illyrian, I thought as I surveyed the rest. My eyes locked on the last detail. The bed.
I felt a blush creep into my face as Azriel and I made the same observation.
“Don’t worry y/n. I can sleep on the couch” he said breaking the silence
“Don’t be ridiculous” I said “You would never fit on that couch”
He laughed at that “You’re right, perhaps the bath then” he raised his eyebrow suggestively
“We can figure out sleeping arrangements later” I tried to redirect the conversation away from beds and sleeping as I made my way to the closet.
“Y/n we are both responsible adults, we can just share the bed” he said
“I wouldn’t want Elain to suspect anything” I said, my back turned to him as I unpacked some clothes for tonight.
“Why would she suspect anything?” Azriel asked as he made his way over to me to continue the conversation
My eyes widened, had I misread their relationship? “Well, I figured that you two…”
“Were together?” he prodded
I nodded my head in answer “aren’t you?” I asked
“No” he looked at the floor, hiding the grin that spread across his face “She is just a friend, I helped her a lot while she was transitioning to fae life but there has never been anything romantic between us, she has a mate and I respect that”
“Good to know” I said trying to hide the blush that swept across my face as his gaze lifted to meet mine. He nodded and his gods damned stare was so intense, I immediately wanted to change the topic of conversation.
“We should probably go over the plan” I said softly, suddenly hyper aware of the fact that I was alone with him. and he was so close, his familiar scent of night chilled mist and cedar drawing me in. I cleared my throat and walked into the sitting area. He didn’t think of me that way, I reminded myself. He had no idea that I had harbored feelings for him for years, and I wouldn’t let this mission ruin that.
I sat on one of the armchairs as Azriel took the sofa, he splayed his wings across the cushions, his shadows making an appearance. He had probably sent them to secure the room and gather preliminary information about who was here, and where.
We sat and talked about our strategy; I would take point being that no one really knew who I was which we would use to our advantage. I would dance with as many of the lords as I could to make conversation. My power was useful in this situation because I could look through people’s minds when I made physical contact with them. This made dancing the perfect opportunity to gather as much as I could while Azriel monitored from the shadows.
“You should rest before tonight” I said, “I’m sure you’re exhausted from winnowing and flying us all the way here.”
He nodded “I didn’t realize how tired I would be, it’s been quite the journey”
“How about you bathe now, and I’ll wake you a quarter to the party to get dressed” I proposed
“Alright” he agreed, standing, and making his way to the bathroom, the door closing behind him with a soft -click-
He took his time in the bath, while waiting for him to finish I had called for tea and some food and took up his position on the couch. I figured I would read one of the books I had brought with me to keep me occupied. It was a recommendation from Nesta, she always gave the best recommendations. I poured myself a cup of tea and picked up where I had left off.
Just as I was settling into a decent reading pace, I heard the bathroom door open. Gods damn him. I thought as Azriel emerged from the bathroom. He had to know what he was doing. He had only a towel slung low across his hips, his bare chest still wet from the bath and the tattoos across his chest looked darker in contrast to his tan chest. He had another in his hands and was using it to dry his hair. I couldn’t help but stare as the muscles in his arms flexed with the movement.
I nearly choked on my tea as he made his way into the closet. I heard the rustle of the towel falling on the floor and focused all my attention to the book, my eyes were glued to the pages, but I wasn’t comprehending anything on the page, my thoughts were purely on the gorgeous naked man in the closet.
He reappeared a few minutes later in a simple pair of linen pants, his chest still bare and his toned chest on full display. How I wanted to feel the power of all those muscles…
I pushed those thoughts out of my mind and tried to focus on the page in front of me.
“Wake me in a few hours” he said, looking at me with a smirk on his face, yeah, he definitely knew what he was doing.
“Mmhmmm” I mumbled pretending to be completely focused on the book in my lap.
A few hours had passed. I checked the time from the clock on the mantle of the fireplace and decided I should begin to get ready. I grabbed a satin dressing robe from the closet and made my way to the bathroom. I couldn’t help but stop and look at Azriel, sleeping peacefully on the bed his breathing slow and even. He looked so carefree like this, and I resisted the urge to crawl into bed next to him. I shook those thoughts from my head, this was going to be a long mission.
I took my time in the bath, enjoying the variety of scents and soaps available. I washed my hair and scrubbed my skin until it was pink, once satisfied with my handiwork I climbed out of the tub and toweled my body dry, putting on the green dressing gown and I wrapped my hair in a towel and set it atop my head.
I emerged from the bathroom to retrieve my dress which was currently hanging in the closet, I expected to find the Shadowsinger still fast asleep, but to my surprise Azriel was awake, he sat in the center of the bed his back propped against the large headboard and a book in his hands. My book. I realized seeing the scarlet red cover. My eyes widened as they met his gaze.
“This is quite interesting material y/n” he said with a roguish grin “I wouldn’t have pegged you for a smut reader. I mean this is quite explicit, even for me, and I have 500 years of experience”
“Perhaps you’re simply out of touch” I quipped “and don’t be such a prude, there is nothing wrong with smutty books”
“Tell me y/n, do you imagine yourself in these situations” he asked, his eyes burning into me
“I will not dignify that question with an answer” I said “Instead of this questioning, perhaps you should get ready for tonight”
“Whatever you say little dove” he answered
I made my way back to the bathroom, closing the door behind me and exhaling the breath I didn’t realize I was holding. I hung my dress on the door and made my way to the sink to splash some cold water on my face. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I decided that two could play at this game. With a giddy smile I got to work.
With a final glance in the mirror, I smiled at my work, I had decided to go for a simple but sultry look. I kept my makeup minimal but added dark winged liner to the lids of my eyes and painted my lips a deep red color. My hair I decided to leave down, letting it fall in big loose curls down my back. It was time to put on the dress I brought for the ball, it was typical night court black, floor length and was corseted which accentuated my waist, and breasts nicely. It also had an off the shoulder detail which I loved. I clutched the fabric to my chest, holding it in place as I made my move.
“Azriel?” I called, opening the bathroom door a crack “Can you help me” I asked
I heard his footsteps approach, and he opened the door, stepping into the room.
We made eye contact through the mirror, and I noticed the way his eyes drifted over my body, lingering on the open back of the dress.
“Can you lace me up?” I asked my voice slightly catching in my throat
He simply nodded, making his way behind me as he took the ribbon in his hands and began lacing up the corset. I involuntarily released a harsh breath as he tightened the dress.
“Is that too tight?” he asked, looking up from his task to meet my eyes in the mirror
“No, its perfect just caught me a little off guard” I said with a smile
He nodded and continued; my skin tingled as his scarred fingers touched my bare skin. I couldn’t help the indecent thoughts that flooded my brain as his skilled hands tied the ribbon.
“There, all finished” he said, his hands lingering on my hips. His pupils were blown wide as I looked at him
I cleared my throat “thank you” I said softly reaching for my necklace
“Let me” he said extending his hand to me. I placed the diamond necklace in his palm and brought my hands to my hair, pulling it to the side as he reached around me to clasp the jewelry in place.
“Beautiful” he said under his breath, his eyes raking over me before he turned and left without another word.
What the fuck was that. I thought as I took a few minutes to compose myself before stepping into the main area of the room.
I found Azriel dressed and sitting on the edge of the bed. He looked good, he wore an ebony tunic brocaded with cobalt and silver, dark pants, and black boots that reached his knees. I realized we had coordinated outfits as the blue in my jewelry matched the embroidery on his tunic.
“We clean up pretty nice don’t you think shadowsinger?” I teased
He smiled, before extending his arm to me. “Shall we?”
I ignored the butterflies in my stomach and took his arm.
Together we made our way into the fox den.
I was exhausted
It had been hours of dancing and using my magic to gather information. To be fair I had learned a great deal like that Beron’s target has been to kidnap Mor or Feyre and use them as leverage. I had also learned that the meeting with the lords was happening at noon tomorrow and that would be our best chance to gather who was the mastermind of this entire scheme.
By this point it felt like I had danced with every male here. To keep up appearances I made my way over to Azriel, who was currently getting us drinks from the open bar.
“You’re doing great” Azriel whispered, handing me a flute of some kind of sparkling wine. I took a sip, enjoying the fruity taste.
“I’m exhausted, and nearly drained” I told him “I don’t think I can do anymore tonight Az” I whispered
“You’re almost done for tonight little dove” he said placing a reassuring hand on my lower back.
I couldn’t help the fluttering in my chest at his use of that nickname.
“One last dance and we can go back to the room”
“With who? I think I have danced with every male in this room. Including Eris” I said
“With me” he said extending his hand, his Hazel eyes swirled with an emotion I couldn’t quite place. I delicately placed my hand in his and he led us onto the dancefloor as a slow waltz began playing.
Azriel pulled me close, one hand resting around my waist the other still grasped in my hand. I followed his lead, placing my free hand on his shoulder as the music swelled.
Something about this, being so close to him just felt… right? I couldn’t quite explain it, but as our bodies moved in time with the orchestra it seemed like the rest of the world faded away and we were the only two people in the room.
I was brought back to reality with the sound of clapping as the music stopped. We both made a show of bowing to each other before making our way out of the ballroom and back to our quarters. It was a silent walk; I didn’t have the energy to make casual conversation after the intensity of that dance.
I entered the room first and Azriel closed the door behind us as I made quick work of turning on the faelights casting the room in a soft glow. Even in my exhausted state, I feel his familiar presence behind me.
“Do you need help getting out of that dress?” he asks, his voice soft and low
“I would appreciate it” I said, my voice barely above a whisper as I felt his hands glide down my body to undo the knots he made only a few hours ago. I am hyperaware of every place our bodies are touching.
“All finished” he says, leaning down so his mouth is flush against my ear. Its like electricity as his hand meets my bare shoulder, turning me to face him.
I keep my eyes down, looking directly at his chest. He brings his hand to my jaw, placing his forefinger and thumb under my chin gently forcing me to meet his gaze.
“Y/n… you are beautiful” he whispers, like if either of us speaks too loudly we’ll be forced back to reality.
“Don’t say things like that” I whisper back, our bodies so close that our breath mingles in the space between us. The tension palpable as the seconds seemed to stretch.
“Why not” he says, his pupils blown wide.
“Az…” I say, any protest leaving my body as he holds me close. his head craning down. I can’t think as his scent envelops me. My eyes flutter closed as he closes the distance between us, and his lips meet mine.
It feels so right, like we were two halves of the same coin, like we were meant to be.
I bring my hands to twist in Azriel’s hair, deepening the kiss as his hand drifts to my lower back pulling me against his hard body. I let out an involuntary moan at the contact. He took the opportunity to intensify the kiss, his tongue meeting mine as all my doubts and insecurities flew out the window.
After what seemed like an eternity, he pulled away. Placing a chaste kiss to my forehead before making his way to the closet, to change no doubt. I took his lead, confused as ever, and made my way to the bathroom to change out of my dress which was already hanging off my body. I stared at myself in the vanity.
“What the fuck are you doing?” I whisper to myself in the mirror “you idiot”
I quickly take off my dress, putting on a nightgown and remove the makeup from my face. I put my hair into a simple braid and make my way to the bed. Azriel still hadn’t emerged from the closet.
I tried not to think about how he was feeling as I tucked myself into the warm covers.
I don’t even remember drifting off to sleep but it takes a moment to register my surroundings, I must have passed out last night after…After that kiss.
I went to throw the covers over my head before realizing that I wasn’t alone in this bed.
Azriel had slept in the bed…with me
He was still fast asleep, his chest rising and falling in a steady rhythm. He had changed into just his sleep pants, his wings were relaxed and tucked behind him, from this position I wondered what it would be like to wake up to him every day.
Stop that. One kiss does not make a relationship, we had some drinks and were both tired. It was probably just a fluke incident. I convinced myself.
I quickly got up, calling for breakfast to be delivered to our room. I didn’t have the energy to get dressed and go downstairs to mingle with everyone from the night before. I’m sure Az would agree when he woke up.
A few minutes later a soft knock sounded at the door, I threw on my robe and padded over opening the door for the sweet nymph pushing a cart full of food to the sitting area.
“Enjoy your meal miss” she said, curtsying before turning and leaving the room closing the door behind her.
I heard a rustling sound as Azriel stirred. He slowly sat in the bed, rubbing the sleep from his eyes as he threw the covers off him and made his way to where I sat.
“Good morning” he said
“Mmhmmm” I replied as best I could, with a mouth full of food.
He smiled “Did you sleep well?” he asked as he prepared a plate for himself and sat opposite me.
“I did” I said, meeting his gaze looking for any sense of regret, or shame from last night. “How did you sleep?” I asked
“Better than I have in decades” he said scooping a heap of eggs into his mouth.
A moment of tense silence passed between us
“About last night” he began
“We don’t have to talk about it, we can just chalk it up to drinks, and exhaustion” I said
“I was just going to say—”
“That you regret it?” I interrupted “don’t worry I do too, so we’re on the same page”
His eyes widened “you regret it?”
“We crossed a line Az, we got swept up in the theatrics of the mission and that’s in part, my fault” I said
“If that’s really how you feel” he said
“It is” I said, but I didn’t dare meet his eyes. He would see that I was lying.
“Alright then” he says.
We finish our breakfast and get ready for the day in silence.
I decided to take a walk along the grounds to clear my head before we planned how to infiltrate the meeting with Beron. It was so tense during breakfast that I needed an escape. Azriel insisted on coming along, for safety, and while I could handle myself, I didn’t protest.
Once we were a safe distance from the house, Azriel said he was going to find a quiet place to train and update Rhysand. He stalked off into the forest, but his shadows remained, swirling around me, keeping tabs on me while he was off.
I walked for a while before I heard a rustling sound behind me. I turned around expecting to find Azriel but was more surprised to find three males I hadn’t seen before.
“Well, well, well, look who it is boys” one of them said “the spymasters little whore”
I hid the panic in my eyes and focused on what I would do. I was alone, with no weapons of my own and I was outnumbered. I decided that my tongue would have to hold them off. If I could distract them long enough, then Az’s shadows would report to him and he would be here in no time.
“Sounds a lot like jealousy to me” I purred back. I wouldn’t let this male intimidate me.
“Why would I be jealous of a female who’s probably been passed around the entire Night Court? I’ve heard stories about how the Carynthians share their women. At least until that High Lady Whore cornered the market”
I hid my disgust “Be careful how you speak about my High Lady” I sneered
“What are you gonna so sweetheart?”
“Whatever I need to” I replied, taking up a defensive stance that Azriel taught me.
“No need for all that, we couldn’t care less about Azriel’s little whore. We just want him. and you’re gonna help us find him”
“I would rather die”
“That can be arranged”
As one of them stalked towards me, I let him think he had the upper hand before I lunged, kicking him swiftly between the legs. While he doubled over, I ran, sprinting through the woods. Not caring about the branches catching my face.
I saw him in a clearing, running through drills on his own.
“AZ” I screamed
He turned immediately, his eyes raking over me for any injuries. “y/n what happened?” he asked frantically wiping the blood from the cuts on my face.
“Males…three…looking- for you” I managed between breaths.
“Okay- its alright, calm down” he said “I want you to go to that clearing” he pointed to a spot within his eyesight that was hidden from the trails. I nodded taking off and getting into position, I decided to stand behind a tree to hide my body from sight.
A few minutes later there was a rustling as the males from earlier made it to Azriel. He easily attacked, taking them down in just a few movements. But he was distracted, the three males in front of him were a diversion as another group approached him from behind, one of them cocked an arrow and sent it flying towards an unsuspecting Shadowsinger.
“AZRIEL” I screamed drawing his attention to the male approaching him from behind. He was slightly too slow turning and got nicked in the arm by the arrow. I noticed the slight wince as he regained his footing. Easily taking down the three remaining males that were pursuing him.
Watching him in combat was a spiritual experience, the way his body parried and struck. He had hundreds of years of experience and in moments like this it clearly showed; I couldn’t help but think back to that dance last night. The feel of his hand in mine, his body pressed close to mine, our breath practically mingling and that kiss…
Before I could register what was happening, I was on my knees, my hands clutching my abdomen. I was so distracted making sure Azriel was alright I didn’t notice the two males approaching me from my position. One of them had me by the hair, twirling it around his fist to get a firm grip on my head while the other cleaned his blade, the blade that just sliced open my abdomen. I wanted to curl over and clutch the wound but the hand in my hair kept me stretched upright on my knees.
Azriel swung his head in my direction, his eyes wide as he took in my situation. He quickly ended the remaining male slicing his throat open in one swift motion and stalked his way over.
“Let- her- go” he said through gritted teeth.
“She seems like such a fun plaything; you sure you don’t want to share shadowsinger?” One of them asked. They both laughed at the comment.
“Step away from my mate” Azriel said, his hazel eyes burning with such intensity I almost felt bad for the end these two males were about to meet. He was death incarnate, and he had a score to settle.
His mate… I thought before the world went black.
He had flown for what seemed like hours, his wings burning from the strain. He had never flown so fast. As the distant lights from the Velaris began to appear, he felt the effects of the faebane begin to wear off as his shadows appeared, swirling around you, waiting for instruction as you currently lay limp in Azriel’s arms.
He screamed in his mind, calling to the high lord and communicating that the mission had gone horribly wrong and he needed Rhys to get Madja and meet him at the House of Wind. He held you tightly in his arms, whispering words of encouragement into your ear as he winnowed to the house.
As soon as he arrived in the foyer he screamed for help and Nesta appeared. Her eyes widened as she took in your unconscious body. She wasted no time, screaming for Cassian and gesturing the shadowsinger to follow her into the closest sitting room. she pushed a couch to the center of the room, clearing its contents to create a triage area where they could work on you.
Cassian ran into the sitting room, taking in the situation before shouting he would get supplies as he ran to the nearest window, leaping out of it and taking flight.
Azriel gently placed you on the couch, taking just a second to smooth the hair from your face. He sank to his knees beside you as he checked your pulse. It was incredibly weak, but it was there. Nesta’s voice cut through his thoughts.
“We have to try and stop the bleeding, if she loses anymore she’ll be in real danger and…and we’ll only be able to do so much to save her” she said
Azriel nodded his head, he pulled truth teller out of its harness and delicately cut away the top of your leathers so they could clean and evaluate the wound. Nesta made sure to keep your breasts covered, she dressed you in a bandeau style top that would keep your middle exposed while you still remained covered, she knew you would be mortified if everyone saw you naked while you were unconscious.
While she dressed you, Azriel went to work cleaning the area around the wound he gently soaked a cloth in alcohol and delicately removed the dried blood, dirt, and debris from your abdomen. He hoped this would make Madja’s job faster, and easier. He knew that time was running out. He shook that thought from his head and continued to work. You had to be okay.
Nesta muttered something about pain medication and that she would make something for you to take the pain away. He doesn’t really recall anything except that Nesta left the room.
You stirred, Azriel’s attention was immediately on your face, looking for any indication you were lucid.
“Az?” you whisper, slowly blinking open your eyes.
His body goes rigid at the sound, he could sob from the sound of your voice.
“y/n?” he chanted over and over, like he needed to be convinced that you were here with him. that you were still alive.
"I- I lied" you said, Azriel froze
"about what sweetheart?" he asked
"about regretting it. t-the k-kiss" you said, tears lining your eyes.
"that's okay- it's alright" he said, wiping the wetness from your eyes.
“I- I heard what you said” you said, your voice barely more than a whisper
“What I said?” he asked, his eyes frantically sweeping over yours in an attempt to understand what you meant.
“That we’re m-mates”
He felt his heart stop, “Y/n, that’s not important right now.” he held your hand tightly in his pressing a light kiss to it “help is almost here, and once you recover, we can talk about it. Just wait a little longer darling”
“I’m t-tired of waiting Az..” you said reaching into your pocket and finding a caramel candy, you always carried them on long missions. You held out the toffee colored sweet in the palm of your hand urging the shadowsinger to take it.
His eyes went wide “are you positive you want this, that you want me?”
“I-I…h-have nev-ver been more s-sure of anything” you strained to say “I have b-been in love with you f-for years Az. I w-was just scared that y-you didn't f-feel the same”
Silver lined his eyes as he took the caramel from your palm, unwrapping it and popping it into his mouth. Even in your severely weakened state he felt the mating bond roar to life. That glowing band tethering your very souls together. In that moment he felt nothing but pure, unabridged happiness.
“We’re going to be so happy y/n, I promise” he said as his hands moved down your body. He began to apply pressure to the gaping wound across your middle. He could feel your pain, the mating bond allowing him a glimpse of what you were experiencing, and it was agony. Your voice pulled him from his thoughts.
“Because w-w-we-were m-mates?” you asked
“Because we’re meant to be little dove” he reassured you
“m-meant t-to b-be?” you said between gasping breaths. Your eyes were sparkling despite the pain a smile present on your lips as you imagined a beautiful future between the two of you, but you felt so tired, so extremely tired. Perhaps you would just rest your eyes.
You took a deep breath before your chest stilled, your hand going limp in his, as your eyes rolled closed. Azriel immediately leapt into action. He held the cloth close to the bleeding gash on your abdomen applying pressure in a feeble attempt to stop the blood flow.
“You will not do this to me” he practically screamed as Madja entered the room. “You will not leave me, if I have to claw my way to Hel and drag your soul back to this plane of existence I will, I swear it.” He growled laying you flat to begin chest compressions as Madja assessed the damage to your body.
He needed you and he refused to let you go like this. Not when you just accepted the bond. Not when he imagined a future with you by his side, a future he wanted to promise to you. He would do anything. If he had to cleave out a piece of his own heart to save you, he would reach into his chest with his bare hands to get it. because he could not live without you.
You took a deep gasping breath, faint color blooming on your cheeks as you groaned in pain.
Madja said a prayer under her breath as she began muttering words in a language he didn’t understand. As she spoke, glowing tendrils appeared and began swirling around your body patching the superficial damage while she cleaned and worked on closing the worst of the injuries on your abdomen.
Nesta returned then and began working in tandem with Madja the two of them falling into a steady rhythm. Azriel decided to let the women work, he left a shadow with you holding your hand as he stood in the doorway watching you, his mate, his love, his everything. He brought his hands to his face and allowed the emotions to flow.
He didn’t know how long he broke down, but he began stitching himself back together. As his breathing evened, and he wiped the wetness from his eyes the front door swung open and Azriel turned to find Rhys, Feyre and Cassian making their way to the room.
“Are you alright” Rhys asked, Azriel knew that the High Lord was trying to distract his brother from the knowledge that his mate was on deaths doorstep only a few feet away.
Azriel nodded looking over to where you lay, he could still feel your pain through the bond.
“Rhys… can-can you take her pain away” Azriel asked softly, his red rimmed eyes meeting that of his friend. Rhysand could see the desperation, the pain in the shadowsingers eyes and he nodded making his way closer to y/n.
Through the bond Azriel could feel the high lord as he took your pain, replacing it with happy memories and feelings of comfort. Azriel brought his hands to his face and let the tears flow freely again, unable to control his emotions. His shoulders shook as his knees buckled and he almost fell to the floor.
Feyre was quick to pull him into a tight embrace, she looked to her own mate, their minds meeting as he urged her to prepare for the worst. Feyre’s own eyes filled with tears as Madja’s voice could be heard pleading with you to hold on, to stay with them.
Azriel broke the embrace with Feyre and lunged for y/n, but Cassian and Rhysand were there hauling him away from the makeshift bed where Madja tried to save you. His shadows swirled frantically around him, as if they too understood what was to come.
No force in the world could prevent it.
He felt it then, a pain in his chest.
He fell to his knees, the tears steadily streaming down his face as the realization set in.
The mating bond. It was breaking apart. The edges fraying and snapping as you slipped out of this world, as you slipped away from him.
He clung desperately to that limp string tethering you here, tethering you to him. He wrapped his magic, his very soul around it begging for you to stay, begging all the gods of this world and beyond to save you. But it didn’t matter.
Nothing mattered as he felt it snap.
As the mating bond was cleaved in two.
Where there was once a glowing reassurance of a future, a golden ray of sunshine to brighten his darkness there was now nothing. There was just an overwhelming feeling of emptiness that overcame him.
You were gone.
He let out a bloodcurdling scream, clutching at his chest. He wanted to claw out the shredded remains of his heart. The heart that still beat for you.
That would always and only beat for you.
Thank you for Reading!
Taglist (All Works) -> @cherryjain17 @we-were-beautiful @moonfawnx @cityofidek @daily-dose-of-sass @marvelouslyem @moonlightazriel @frieddesigninspiringquotesslime @indaybella99 @gray08 @dreamsofivy @gorgeouslysent
Taglist (Azriel Only) -> @ellievickstar
Lucien and Jesmida 😭😭😭😭😭
Eris Vanserra - A Court of Thorns and Roses
Cauldron of Fire
Eris x Reader - trauma healing with Eris :) fourth Archeron sister style, reader is second born, and accepts Eris’s proposal after a dance - healing ensues
Warnings: angst, illusion to smut
Word Count: 7.6K
“I’ll leave it up to (Y/N), it’s her choice if she wants to go with you.”
Those words echoed in your mind every day; they were all you could think about. Rhysand’s disinterested voice, his monotonous tone - as if your future and state of wellbeing were nothing more interesting than the invisible fleck of dust on his coat. You remembered that evening, the ball you had attended with your sisters and their mates, the look in those dead violet eyes as Rhysand peered down his nose at you.
You missed the days when Nesta hated him, when she used to come to your room late at night to split wine and spent the evening discussing how much she loathed the male, how tight his leash was on her. Then she had to go and mate the other Illyrian brute seemingly out of nowhere. She claimed that did not change her feelings about the High Lord, though you saw the fire fade from her eyes, how he tamed her: no more drinking, fighting; you saw how she held her tongue - but it may have been her mate doing that for her. Elain was fully dissociated, spending her days baking or sitting by the window. She didn’t read or eat or talk, she simply existed; the only times she did open her mouth were to question if she should still consider you family. Nesta had been accepted back into her little circle once she had become shackled to Cassian. And Feyre was simply a lost cause, blinded by the mating bond, dazzled by the control her mate had, drunk on the illusion of power she held.
Nothing was the same.
So you jumped at the opportunity to escape.
No longer did you feel the darkness of the Night Court seep through your bones, the chill of the cold wind nipping at your skin, the hypocritical lies - those so called dreams Rhysand shoved down your sisters’ throats.
It was too much. After you and your sisters had been shoved in the Cauldron, you hadn’t been able to breathe, to sleep, to eat. Perhaps that was your Cauldron blessed gift - no longer needing sustenance to live. The thought alone almost made you gag. You had been the only one not given something special from the Cauldron. While holier-than-thou Elain had become a rare seer and your dear vicious Nesta had taken Death itself apparently, you were left with nothing. You didn’t receive nor take. You did not fight back, you did not scream, cry, or panic.
The water burned you. It bled into you, scorched your skin, incinerated you. It ignited something in you - something you couldn’t pinpoint. Perhaps it was just you turning Fae, the new feeling of living. You tried to convince yourself it was the elongation of your bones, the coiled muscles around your new lanky limbs, that scorching hot black water that engulfed you in flame. But deep down you knew it was something else.
You’d lost all credibility - while Nesta and Elain had sworn the water was cold, you’d been charred. They thought you were crazy right then and there - hallucinating it, imagining it. And you had no gift from the Cauldron. That made them think you were lying. Why bless two sisters and not the third?
The night of the ball, they made you dance with Eris. Pregnant Feyre was nearly barred from speaking to any male, newly-mated Nesta outright refused, and Elain was protected by the eldest Archeron. The same Nesta who used to curl up in your bed with you, cursing the Night Court scum, drinking their expensive liquor and spending Rhysand’s money. She offered you up to the wolves on a silver platter.
When Eris offered you a marriage - solace, perhaps - you jumped.
Feyre made a scene,crossing the room in an attempt to winnow you away. Rhysand and the blue-stoned male were eyeing each other from across the room, no doubt speaking to each other silently. You pretended not to notice how the High Lord’s hand curled around your sister’s wrist, holding her back. Elain wept those silent tears, lacking the balls to even attempt to say anything. Nesta stood with her arms crossed over her chest, her mate seething behind her with bared teeth. All of a sudden so protective, you remembered thinking.
Eris simply stepped to you and held out his pale hand. A smirk crawled up his lips when you accepted, laying yours against his burning palm. “There’s fire in you, my dear (Y/N),” he whispered, and pressed a kiss to your knuckles before he winnowed you away.
That’s how you ended up in the Autumn Court, wrapped in cream colored sheets, curled up against the great mahogany headboard. You woke up with Rhysand’s voice ringing in your ears, your hair stuck against your temples and neck with sweat, despite the noticeable lack of fire in the room - the same as you did every morning. Another evening passed without sleep, just rolling around with your racing thoughts.
Your sheets still smelled of Eris.
The male who saved you, who rescued you from the confines of the Night Court, who offered you safety and a home and a marriage. You knew what was in it for him. It would ally him to the Night Court, he would have one of the Archeron sisters on his arm - not the one who became High Lady, not Death herself - but a Cauldron made female nonetheless. Your reputation preceded you as a callous, stony Fae, one who would surely fit in at the Autumn Court. Beron was pleased with Eris’s choice of bride, welcoming you to the Forest House personally.
“Don’t get used to it,” Eris muttered, so quietly you were barely able to pick up on it, if not for his breath tickling against the shell of your ear.
He had made the arrangement for your own room in the Forest House, the line was drawn at your marriage, the one that would commence in a few months; that was your end of the bargain - just the marriage. He let you escape Night, you let him marry you. You owed each other nothing else.
Eris barely spoke to you in the beginning, allowing you time and space to become acclimated to the Autumn Court. You were thankful, as you had barely had time to learn what it meant to be Fae - to adjust to your new body. But after weeks alone in your bedroom, after countless evenings spent wandering the deep Autumn forests, you sought out Eris.
He was actually quite a good listener, though you were not always in the talking mood. Upon your first evening together, you had invited Eris for tea in your drawing room. He was civil, accepting your over-brewed tea, asking if everything was to your liking. Eris, you’d quickly learned, was not a talker, either. Instead, he asked you short questions about your human life, grimacing as you’d recalled your old cabin, the dirty town, the thick forest. He’d only cut in to tut or make a snide comment about your sisters. Part of you wanted to throw him out of your room for speaking of them, though the other part - the part that won - laughed at his cruel words, recalling how they treated you, how you’d spent more time at each other’s throats than truly loving or looking out for each other.
Over the weeks, your nightly chats became insufficient. You’d grown bored of droning on about your putrid human life or your miserable sisters and their insufferable mates. You were tired of talking - he was tired of listening.
It was a cold autumn night, the fire roaring in the hearth in front of you. He lounged on the sofa across from you, legs spread wide and red eyes focused on the flames dancing in beside you. You’d run out of things to talk about long ago, instead sipping on the cold tea in front of you, laced with the lovely spiced Scotch he brought you that evening.
You’d given up, hastily placing your mug against the porcelain saucer, the loud clang echoing through the room. Eris made no acknowledgement of the noise, not flinching nor eyes wavering from the inferno. Your own eyes narrowed at him, slack against the cushions, swirling the concoction in his own teacup. His red hair was tousled, no doubt after running his long pale fingers through the wild strands all evening. He had unbuttoned that dark green jacket and the first few buttons of the loose white shirt beneath it. Layers upon layers, this male never sweat, never blushed, never shed his coat. Nor his mask either, for that matter.
Not until you were nearly throwing your cup into the fire and crossing the room. You’d, instead, managed to place your cup on the coffee table, swiftly dodging it on your way to meet him on the couch. It was only when you’d crawled over his lap that he broke his gaze and swallowed harshly, peering up at you.
He said nothing, mesmerized by the pure determination on your face. “Enough talking,” you whispered, holding his stare.
“We weren’t talking.” While you crossed the room first, he’d made the next move, dragging his hands up your legs, underneath the bunched skirts that pooled over his lap. As your fingers found the buttons down the front of his shirt, that devilish grin pulled at his lips.
“Enough of this,” you muttered, working hastily to rid him of his clothes.
He chuckled beneath you, working to help you by shrugging off his jacket. You bit your lip as you took in the male before you, pale skin littered with scars, what looked like ancient script carved across his torso. When you moved to trace his chest, his hands left you, suddenly snatching at your wrists. You bit back a breath - surprised and nearly burnt - heat spreading from his palms to his fingertips, leaching into your skin.
“No touching.” He nearly growled.
You nodded, pulling your hands from his, placing them instead on the sofa, above either of his shoulders. You leaned forward, perhaps finally allowing the Scotch to run its course. Eris shivered below you, trying to meet you halfway, lust-blown eyes watching your lips. His hands found the backs of your thighs as he pulled you flush against his half hard cock. “No kissing,” you murmured, running your tongue over the shell of his ear.
It had been too long since a male had warmed your sheets, and it was making you itch. You’d felt that desire deep in your core for far too long. Especially with a male as devastatingly handsome as Eris who spent his evenings lounging across from you in your bed chamber.
So that was that. Strictly sex. No lingering touches, no holding each other afterwards, no tenderness, no kissing. Just like all the other males you’d bedded.
It had only been a matter of time before one of you cracked. He was glad it was you.
That was it.
Beyond that, the two of you spent most evenings together, using each other’s bodies, extinguishing the searing desire that lingered just below your skin. You’d found out Eris was just as starved as you, needing the nightly release as much as you. He’d called on you most evenings, sending housekeepers scattering, looking for his betrothed; other nights he showed up at your room unannounced in the dead of night, nearly hauling you over his shoulder to toss you on your bed.
Eris burned with passion - anger and desire. You’d seen the mask he wore around his courtiers and around his father. While he never delved into his childhood, personal interests, or anything too revealing, really, you finally saw him without that mask, without the taunting glare or sadistic smirk. If it weren’t for those pointy ears and fire roaring through his blood, you thought him almost human. He could be soft and kind, angry and cruel.
It felt like you’d made the right choice.
Though Rysand’s voice still haunted you.
Haunted you like the Cauldron. That boiling hot water. That black ocean that ripped the air from your lungs and singed away every human part of you. It took away your family, took away your mortality, took away your freedom.
At least you had managed to escape the Night Court.
You sat against the headboard, as you did every morning, willing yourself to forget that wretched voice ringing in your ears. Eris would be back that evening, you already knew. He’d already left for early morning training, evidenced by the clashing sound of swords outside your window. You’d left the window open last night, the cool evening breeze a welcome contrast to the hot male above you.
You shoved yourself off the bed on wobbly legs, you limbs felt heavier than normal after nights like that, thrown over Eris’s shoulders all night. You hauled yourself over to the bathing chamber, stopping only to stare at yourself in the mirror. The purple circles under your eyes had faded since you left Velaris, though you still found them quite easily over your harsh cheekbones. Scoffing at yourself, you aimed for the tub, grimacing at the large metallic bucket that was hastily thrown inside the large porcelain bath.
With a sigh you turned the tap, angling the bucket upwards to collect the cool water. While it filled, you returned to your room to shut the window and pull the curtain. It was cold enough already, you thought to yourself. Your morning ritual consisted of laying in bed for hours, followed by a cold shower, and then meeting the Vanserra’s for lunch. On rare occasions, when Eris spent the night at the opposite side of your bed, and stayed into the morning hours, he’d drag you from bed and take you to breakfast in his office, just the two of you. Eris knew of your distaste for his father, and he very much agreed, opting for a quiet breakfast away from the rest of his rowdy family.
Besides, it was about time he put some actual effort into treating you like his wife. The wife you deserved to be, he often thought. Since he’d first seen you after the Cauldron, he knew he wanted you by his side. The seething, temperamental, fierce Archeron sister. Not nearly as timid as the flowery-one, nor as vile-tongued as the eldest, not insufferable like the High Lady.
You returned to step into the tub, hoisting the heavy bucket over your head. Cold water crashed over your head and down your shoulders, soaking every inch of you. Goosebumps erupted over your skin and with a hiss, you dropped the bucket against the porcelain again; you wrapped your arms around your torso, as if that would do anything to stop the freezing air attacking you. You bit your lip so your teeth didn’t chatter.
Seventy-two seconds. You counted every one. Every morning. Watching the tap fill your bucket so slowly, standing in the middle of the tub with your wet hair dripping down your back. You flicked the water droplets from your arms and grabbed the hair wash, lathering it in your palms as you scrubbed your scalp.
Your spine stiffened as your muscles tightened up at the cold, fighting the urge to clench every fiber of your being. You washed quickly, wanting nothing more than to crawl back up under your warm sheets.
But with another sigh, you lifted the bucket, letting the suds wash down your chest and legs. Another seventy-two seconds for the bucket to fill. You rubbed the other soap over your body, arms, legs, hips - everywhere, washing off the scent of Eris, the sweat from the night before, the lingering grime from the Night Court you never seemed to be able to get off.
You crouched and held your arms and legs under the faucet as it ran, splashing the water on your chest to speed up your cold standing bath. This morning routine had done more for you than whatever bullshit recovery plan those heathens in the Night Court ever employed for you. They forced you to train, forced you to eat, forced you to talk to them. You sat on the sidelines while Nesta and her precious Valkyries trained - gagging at the whiff of arousal between Nesta and the brute that those poor other priestesses had to suffer. You’d wondered how they could be so content with sitting around and talking and drinking constantly. They did everything as a group, even Rhysand running through Nesta’s frivolous bar tab and chastising her spending - only to make Feyre cry at the breakfast table, unashamed about his actions.
You refused their food and wine publicly - only because of the promise of you throwing it up later that night - and you couldn’t even bathe. Feyre was the only one who knew of your issue, promising to fix something in your bathing chamber (a promise in which she did not fulfill); but soon enough, it was Rhysand making a comment about throwing you in the river for you to face your fears. Then it was Cassian offering you a strong Illyrian from Windhaven to dunk your head under the water - “It’s only water, nothing to fear.” That’s what he had said. All while your sister bit her tongue. Your sister who had the same problem, who had a mate doting on her and distinctly not shoving her underwater, sat there and pushed the food around on her plate.
You rinsed completely with the last bucket of water, tossing it onto the floor beside the tub, shutting the tap off and wringing your hair out. Quickly, you toweled off, shimming into the plush robe folded on the stool beside the tub. You wrapped your hair in the towel and made your way back into the bedroom to choose a dress for the day. Eris and his brother were still sword fighting below your window, you stopped to watch how he swung the sword around with ease, aiming to viciously unarm his younger brother. Though you knew Eris had no intent to actually harm the male, you often wondered how close they’d actually gotten to killing each other.
You had pulled out a red dress, one that perfectly mirrored the color of Eris’s hair. He and his mother had gotten you a whole new wardrobe on your arrival in the Autumn Court. Eris had encouraged you to eat, hoping you’d put on some weight. He didn’t know whether they had locked you up in the dungeon of the Court of Nightmares or if the food in the Night Court was truly that bad. Not in the mood to figure out which, Eris had ordered one of the house keepers to send your food to your room in the chance you missed a meal. It happened quite often in the beginning, that you would eat your meals alone in your room, the dancing fire in the hearth your only friend.
When you had grown more comfortable with Eris, you’d eat together in his study, and join his family for dinner. You were uneasy at first, but soon noticed how Beron often skipped meals, as well. It seemed that he made the whole family unpleasant, because you quickly noticed how much livelier the dinners were without him. Lady Autumn was quite talkative when she wasn’t reigned in by her husband, often starting polite conversation with you or chastising one of her sons for throwing bread at another.
You almost laughed, remembering how you and your sisters acted the same. A long, long time ago. Met with a harsh warning from your own mother, while your father failed to hide his smile behind his wine glass. That was long before the life you knew was ripped away from you. Before your sister was taken and turned Fae, before you and the remaining two were Made, thrown into a life none of you asked for nor wanted.
Well - maybe it was just you who didn’t want it. It was only you, afterall, without a gift, without a home, without a mate.
You shook your head to rid yourself of the thoughts, towel dried your hair and brushed the knots through it. If you could force yourself into a proper bath, you would. It had always been much easier to brush the knots out in the water. But you hadn’t been able to since that fateful day. You’d tried a few times, but the bile rose harshly in your throat before you could even muster one foot in the water. Many times you’d filled the tub just to drain it seconds later.
You’d dressed and braided your hair down your back, much like how Nesta used to do your hair when you were children. The estate was empty once you made your way down the atrium, only servants rushing through the halls with bushels of linens in their hands, plates of food, and sparkling dinnerware.
As you made your way to the dining room, you passed Eris in the hall. His hair was wet with sweat despite the cool Autumn air he trained in, curling against his forehead and temple. He had long since lost his jacket, his marred chest on proud display as he strolled through his home. The tight white trousers he wore were tucked into his tall boots, strong legs flexing with every step. You took your time dragging your eyes up and down his body, only to meet his russet eyes with an amused look.
You nodded in greeting, to which he returned, and he flashed you that signature smirk, without so much pausing to properly greet you. But you’d noticed how his mask dropped - the one he wore in his own home - only for his expression to turn stony and cold once you’d passed.
It was Beron who was in the dining room, though, alone and with a great feast before him. You stopped quickly, having already shoved open the great wooden door loudly, his burning eyes flitted to yours. You swallowed your shaking breath, dropping into a curtesy before apologizing. “My apologies for the intrusion. I was not expecting anyone to be in here.”
He brushed you off immediately, gesturing towards the table. Despite the male’s harsh reputation, you couldn’t help but notice how he reminded you of Eris. While your future husband seemed to have some of his mother’s softer traits, there was still resemblance in those red eyes and high cheekbones. “Please, (Y/N), take a seat.”
You could only nod, slithering into the seat farthest away from him.
The knock on your door pulled you from your slumber.
After lunch with Beron, you’d gone straight back to your room. You’d picked around at your food, the High Lord’s presence suddenly causing your appetite to vanish. You felt sick, actually. Your stomach twisted with anxiety, uncertainty, fear. You spoke only when spoken to. You stared at the plate in front of you, unable to make eye contact - only when he demanded it of you.
You found yourself acting like the Lady of the Autumn Court. And not in a good way.
With a sigh, you propped yourself up on your elbow and rubbed the sleep from your eyes. You threw your legs over the edge of the bed and made your way to the door. Eris, as expected - the only visitor you had ever had - stood on the other side of the doorway. “Sleeping?” He questioned, taking in your groggy state. You nodded, stepping aside and allowing him in, shutting the door quietly behind him. “You slept through dinner,” he stated simply. “I was told you had a late lunch.”
Eris watched your every move. How you dragged yourself from the doorway back to the bed, barely acknowledging his presence at all. Unusual, considering your normal routine involved you ready to jump his bones and fuck.
He couldn’t tell if you were avoiding him or if something was actually wrong.
“I had lunch with your father today,” you informed him, falling back against your bed, laying upright and facing the ceiling.
Eris stood in the middle of the room, frozen in place. “You had lunch with Beron today?” He repeated, dumbfounded, as if you hadn’t just stated the same exact information. You simply nodded against the sheets, knowing it was mostly rhetorical. “Why the fuck would you have lunch with Beron?”
“I didn’t intend to,” you replied in a flat tone. “He was there and I walked in.”
Eris strode to the bed, standing at your feet, peering down at you. His cheeks were flushed, arms crossed over his chest. “What did he say? It’s important that you tell me exactly what he said.”
You huffed a sigh. “He was inquiring about the wedding…” you trailed off. “About you. About Feyre.”
Eris ran a hand through his red hair, tugging at the ends. “(Y/N), please tell me you didn’t tell him - ”
Eris cut you off, and you were quick to do the same. “I’m not that dumb,” you scoffed, rolling over to press your face into the thick comforter. “I know telling him she has his fire would be enough to start a war. I told him she was weak, that her mate still ran the Court, makes all the decisions.”
“Partly true, then,” he huffed, dropping down beside you, sitting upright on the bed. His boots were planted on the dark wooden floor, fists clenched in his lap.
“He was trying to see if you’re a threat to him.”
“If we’re a treat to him,” he corrected, dropping a hand to your hip. “He’s never once lived in peace since I was born. Not since myself or any of my brothers had been born - we’re a threat to his power. Meant to take over the throne - to take his place.” Eris nearly groaned. This had been his fear. He was taking a powerful wife, one that surely would make a fine High Lady - much finer than your sister, even. Eris was not threatened by your status as a Made female. But Beron was - as well as most everyone else in Prythian.
“He said I was a good choice,” you continued. “Why would he think that if he is threatened?”
“He’s feeling you out.” Eris nearly stopped himself. “He’s going to find your tells and use them against you.” Eris wanted to find his father and snap his neck. He cursed himself for not being there, for you having to endure that meeting with Beron alone, for endangering you in doing so. “He’s going to use it to break you.” He’d be damned if Beron set a finger on you - if he threatened you with so much a glance.
He was raging. Silent, strong rage pent up inside the male. Over the years he’d been trained to suppress his anger, to let the torch burn deep inside him quietly. Quietly - until one day it would all surface, releasing the storm that had been building up for five hundred years. That day would be coming soon, he realized, staring at the wooden floorboards of your bedchamber. He ran his hand through his hair, disheveling the once nearly placed long curls. He knew that bringing you into the Autumn Court would surely test him - test his patience in dealing with his father.
He could redirect Beron’s anger towards himself, allowing him to take out the High Lord’s frustration on Eris, burning him, cutting him, scarring him. He could protect his mother, protect his brothers - for the most part. He didn’t want Beron threatening you, talking to you, even so much as looking at you. His motive had Eris fuming. He actually had never anticipated his father inviting you to dine with him - perhaps a mistake on his own part.
Eris had to protect you. It was his duty as your future husband. As the future High Lord. He wouldn’t allow himself to think of what Beron would do to you - how he would break you.
Even if you didn’t feel the same way about him.
He pushed himself from the edge of your bed, his hand ran down the curve of your hip and down your thigh, then calf, as he moved toward the door. He paused in front of the mirror in your bathroom to straighten out his jacket, pressing his palms down his chest to smooth out the wrinkles. He stepped closer, hand dragging through his messy red hair, taming the wild curls before going to speak with his father - he needed to remain well put together, his mask uncracked, as to not alert his father that he was truly so angry with him.
You still laid on the bed, fingers rubbing against your temples with your forehead resting against the plush duvet. Eris’s voice echoed from the bathroom, as a silver glint caught his eye. “(Y/N), why is there a bucket in your bathing room?”
You shot up in your bed, sitting upright and hands gripping at the sheets. Fuck.
Eris was too quick, not waiting for a response - as if you could think of one that fast - and appeared again in the doorway, arms crossed, leaning against the wooden frame. His russet eyes burned into you, almost daring you to lie to him.
He had his suspicions, of course. He’d heard rumors of the Cauldron Made females, though that they were ruthless, unsympathetic, primitive even. But if his new theory was proven right, he’d have to admit he was quite surprised. A female who stared death in the eye, who faced the Cauldron head-on, who stepped away from her family - the only people she had known in this cruel world - afraid of a bath. Better than a Fae scared of their own own father, he supposed.
You were quick to rise on your feet, standing on wobbling legs as you outstretched a hand out toward him, in warning, it seemed. Don’t speak, your eyes willed him. “Let me explain,” you began, heart racing in your chest.
His lips curled up in a smile, in near shock that you had become so worked up - so worried of what he might think. Maybe you did like him after all, he mused to himself. Or at least cared about his opinion, perhaps. “No need, (Y/N),” he interrupted. “I’m not mad.”
You cocked a brow at him. “Mad? I don’t care what you are,” you huffed, crossing your arms over your chest, mimicking his pose.
“What’s got you so jumpy?” He asked, tilting his head to the side. “Honestly, I’m just glad you’re clean, no matter by what means.” He examined the non-existent dirt under his fingernail. “I know how dirty those Illyrians and Nightmare dregs are.”
You narrowed your eyes at him. “You’re not funny.”
“I’m not trying to be,” he said seriously, leveling his gaze with yours. He stood straight, dropping his hands to his sides comfortably. “It’s okay, (Y/N).” You stared back at him, suddenly a large knot forming in your throat. You swallowed harshly, willing it to dissipate, praying that it would disappear before the tears began to well in your eyes. Eris was quick to catch on, perhaps he’d have to teach you how to hide your tell sooner rather than later, after all. He took a small step closer, holding his hand out towards you, open palm: not a threat. “I understand.”
“No.” You shook your head, hands gripping at the fabric of your bodice, hiding the tremble in your fingers. “It’s not okay,” you murmured, voice cracking. But he understood. Tears pooled in the bottom of your eyes and you blinked furiously to get rid of them. To no avail.
He closed the remaining distance between you, pale hand reaching up to brush a tear from your cheek. “It’s all right,” he whispered, cradling your cheek. I am not judging you. I have fears, too. You are not alone. All of the words he couldn’t force himself to say. He didn’t know what was stopping him. “The Cauldron hurt you. It’s okay.”
You stepped backwards, dropping your head, a frustrated sigh - perhaps a gasp - leaving your lips as you choked back a sob. “It’s not,” you repeated. “Beron has hurt you and burned you with fire day after day. Yet you still yield the same flames every day. No issues, no tears, no fear.”
“I am this fire, it’s a part of me.” Eris reached for your hand, his warm skin evidence of such power burning through his blood. He waited for you to bring your red-rimmed eyes to his before he continued: “You are not the Cauldron, (Y/N). You were Made. No matter how many times your illiterate sister needs to repeat it: you are made, yes. But that is not what you are made of.” You clenched your teeth, suddenly feeling your jaw tighten and lower lip wobble. “You are fearless and resilient and powerful. And even as a mortal I’m willing to bet you were just as stubborn.”
He cracked a smile - one so genuine you’d wondered if anyone had seen anything like it before spread on the handsome male’s face. Such a kind small smile that it had fresh tears falling down your cheeks. He pressed a kiss to the back of your knuckles, thumb brushing over your fingers. “But you are not the Cauldron,” he continued. “You are you.”
You let out a broken sob, something between a cry for help and a gasp for air. He didn’t think twice, grabbing your waist and pulling you into him, pressing you against his chest. His arms wrapped around your back, hand resting at the back of your head, fingers running through your hair. His other hand rested over your back, keeping you grounded into him, allowing you to wail into his thick jacket. Your hands grabbed at the fabric, clinging onto him for dear life.
He didn’t try to shush you, didn’t belittle you - he didn’t say anything. He didn’t push your emotions aside, didn’t hurry you along. He held you, even going as far as to lean into you, holding you impossibly tighter, and dropped his cheek to rest on the top of your head.
You’d never been held like that. Never been hugged to the point in which you felt truly loved.
He waited until you were done, until you pulled your head from his chest and tried to step away from him. But he wouldn’t have it. He wouldn’t have you turning away from him, hiding your tears, ashamed of what you felt and how you dealt with your trauma. He’d hidden his own away enough to see how that truly damaged himself - he wanted better for you. He wouldn’t have offered you a place in the Autumn Court if he didn’t truly believe it would mean a better life for you.
Instead, he held you still against him, hands falling to your waist. You slowly tilted your head up to meet his gaze, brows still knit together. “One day you will be able to get into the bath. Alone, even. It doesn’t have to be today. But I promise you that one day you will.”
You clung to him, but your tears had subsided. Your fear had vanished, apprehension about the tub in the room beside him now gone as Eris held you in his arms. He anchored you in reality; you felt safe - you knew he was real, that you were in the Autumn Court, not surrounded by strangers or being thrown into the Cauldron. “No,” you breathed. “I want to. I’ve been trying to,” you confessed, biting your lip. “I just can’t do it myself.”
Your fingers fiddled with the fabric in your grasp, so much so that Eris could barely think straight, focused on how your fingertips grazed the material, imagining how it would feel if you ran your fingers along his skin. “Let me help,” he whispered, entrapped in your arms.
You nodded slowly, unable to trust yourself to speak anymore. You didn’t know what you’d confess.
He held your hand as he led you to the bathing room, gesturing for you to sit at the edge of the tub. “It won’t bite,” he murmured. A snarky comment that normally would have been met with a rude remark or at least an impolite gesture on a normal day. But he didn’t mean it with cruelty - it was a new side to Eris you hadn’t quite seen before. One who, deep down, you’d suspected could be capable of caring for someone, despite what your sister and her fateful followers said. What they had lied about.
He made quick work to toss the bucket aside, turning the faucet on with one hand, while the other rested on your leg, just above your knee, unwavering. “Clothes?” He asked, eyes wide, a genuine question. He’d already felt he was pushing your comfort zone, unsure how far you were willing to go, acknowledging that the bath alone would be harrowing enough. He lost count of how many times he’d flinched at the sight of a sharp knife as a young male, even the one set at his right-hand side of his plate during dinner.
You shook your head, fingers numbly moving to unlace your gown. “A real bath,” you muttered, pushing yourself to your feet. Eris helped as the tub filled. Normally, when the two of you undressed each other, it was a hasty mess of ripped fabric, pulling clothes off each other with veracity, looking for quick release. Eris was tender, though, pulling the strings of your corset, warm hands peeling the fabric from your body. He let the heavy material fall to the ground, working quickly on his own clothing. He’d carelessly shed his many layers, tossing them away from where you two stood, baring nothing but your souls in front of each other.
He pushed your hair over your shoulders, down your back, tucking a strand behind your pointed ear. Lust laced his features, his heart swollen with pride. I’m proud of you, he wanted to say. Proud of you for this, proud of you for making it through lunch with his unbearable father, proud of you for leaving your toxic family. All of it.
His eyes went from yours to the full tub, reaching to shut the water off. He said nothing, straightening out and waiting for you to make the first move. You shook your head. “No, Eris, I can’t.”
“You don’t have to.”
You shrugged, suddenly feeling so exposed. You eyed the water. “I want to.”
“I’ll go in with you. You won’t be alone this time.”
“It’s not just that.” You stared blankly at the crystal clear water. Not black. Not murky. Not swirling with unkempt power. Your cheeks felt hot, you felt the heat radiating from the water. It seeped into your bones, warming the room instantly. “It’s too hot.”
Eris mulled over your words. Too hot. His brows furrowed as he, too, stared at the full tub. Tendrils of steam curled above the surface. Welcoming, he thought. “I - the Cauldron - ” you nearly choked on the word. “ - it was so hot. I…” you trailed off, wrapping your arms around your torso, fingers brushing the soft skin over your ribs. “I thought it was going to burn me alive.” Your eyes didn’t leave the white tub, dropping lower only to stare at the floor. Shame built up in your stomach, afraid of how he would respond. The man you were set to marry in just a few short weeks. Master of flame and inferno, his bride frightened by hot water.
Eris hummed in response and dipped his hand into the water. He pulled the heat into himself, cooling the water drastically, as he himself grew hotter. A neat trick, though one he never thought would be useful.
He held his dripping fingers over the tub, waiting for you to place your hand in his. So you did, letting him take your hand in his and dip it under the surface. Tepid, lukewarm water. So clear that you watched your joined hands under the water, reflection rippling.
You took a breath.
That was all Eris needed to continue. One leg at a time, he stepped into the tub, not letting go of your hand. He waited for you to follow him in, stepping over the side just as he did. The two of you stood in the knee-deep water, staring at each other, still.
You sat first, biting your tongue as the water surrounded you, enveloping you. You swallowed as you felt the water curl around your neck, sparking shivers down your spine. Your chest heaved, panic already overwhelmed you as the water crawled up your throat. With each movement, the water splashed against your skin higher and higher, clipping your jaw.
Eris’s hand found your shoulder, startling you. You didn’t notice when he joined you, sitting across from you in the water, didn’t notice the concern in his eyes. His warm touch steadied you, so much so that you were able to sit straight and stare at him. Eris’s sculpted face was calm, his brows arched high, plump lips pressed together. He was nearly as afraid as you were.
“Turn around,” you whispered, voice barely audible. He didn’t question. He wasn’t in a place to. He slowly shifted around so that his back faced you. Eris faced the wall and cursed himself, praying to the Mother that he didn’t fuck everything up.
The water shifted all around him as you moved to sit on your knees behind him. Your hand came to his jaw, right under his chin where it met his neck. Your thumb brushed over his sharp jaw as you tilted his head back, dipping his flaming locks just beneath the surface. Without time to protest, he simply compiled, shutting his eyes as he let you soak his hair.
You couldn’t sit still in the suffocating water. You let Eris sit up, his shoulders slouched. Never had you seen the male’s shoulders forward like that, usually always pulled back and spine straight. Despite the loll in his shoulders, though, he was so stiff - rigid and tense - unsure. You grabbed the soap from beside the tub and lathered it in your hands, then ran your fingers over his hair.
Eris’s heart lurched up his chest. He swore he could feel the blood pumping in his veins, the heat building up inside of him, crawling up his neck. Your fingers laced through the strands of hair, fingertips scrubbing against his scalp, massaging the back of his neck and behind his ears - it sent shivers down his spine. When his shoulders shuddered, you paused, if only momentarily, before he found himself nearly begging you to continue.
As if you shared one mind, you continued, paying special attention to those spots, eventually using the soap that dripped down the back of his neck to rub into the skin over his shoulders and back. You washed his back, tracing the freckles along his skin, outlining his collarbones and spine. His head dropped back, eyes shut in pure bliss.
Rule number one completely forgotten. No touching.
Your fingers grazed the scars riddling his body, raised and puckered. You were in awe of the male. So classically beautiful, carved from marble by the Mother herself. He was so tall, muscle bound his body, he moved gracefully. You didn’t know why the gods had damned him by giving him the life he had - the father, the pain, the torture. Your heart shattered for the male - your male.
He melted under your touch, overwhelmed with the softness of your touch. Not once had anyone been so gentle with him. He hadn’t remembered the last time someone had cared for him with such kindness. He’d grown up feeling so cold, such a hateful father and a life devoid of love. It was all he knew, so that’s how he met the world. He didn’t care what anyone thought of him - the meaner the better, he’d been raised to think.
Perhaps marriage would prove otherwise.
He forced a shaky breath in his lungs. It was clear to you that the male hadn’t felt care like that before. What you didn’t know was that it was taking all of his will power not to crumple right there in your hands.
But it wasn’t meant to be about him. You, he remembered, this was for you.
You leaned into him, chest pressed to his back, as your hands rubbed the soap over his own chest, over the scars and muscles over his heart. Your arm curled around his own, and he went so far as to drop his head back against your shoulder. You splashed the water over his skin, ridding his hair and neck of soap. Your fingers deftly brushed over his Adam’s apple, his throat moved at the contact.
“(Y/N),” he couldn’t help himself from moaning. His hand threaded through your half-dry hair, holding you in place. Eris moved quickly to twist around, facing you, hand still cradling the back of your neck. His red eyes burned yours, asking for permission - pleading - to kiss you.
You closed the distance between you, brushing your lips against his, so soft, so tender and comfortable that you’d wondered what impulsively made you create the second rule. No kissing.
You’d been scorned before, you’d been unloved for so long that you feared sharing any intimacy with him. Your deal had been a marriage, with the addition of a good fuck every once in a while. Never had you imagined such a moment with this male - your savior.
Eris pulled you closer to him, eventually dragging you over his lap between his legs. Your chest and back rose above the waterline, skin erupting in goosebumps as he held you in his lap. His strong arms held you close, one wrapped around your waist, the other around your shoulder, hand cupping your cheek. He guided you, tilting your head so he could deepen the kiss, in no hurry to devour you. He just wanted to feel more of you - hold you closer than he ever had.
He warmed the water, the flames burning within him needing escape; you, shivering in his arms, also needed the warmth. You held him closer, arms slung around his neck, finally indulging in what you hadn’t known you’d so desperately been missing.
Cauldron Fated (Eris Vanserra x Reader)
KINKTOBER DAY SIX: MATING BOND
Summary// You considered Eris to be somewhat of a friend, having grown up alongside him in court and being there for him on the scarce times he confided in you. It just felt natural, and as you got older, it started to develop into a crush. He always held you at arm's length though, never dancing with you or joining you on morning rides, which left you with no choice but to move on. But when your engagement is announced at a ball a week later, Eris has a big problem with it…which leads to the discovery of something bigger than both of you.
(If I had the time I would have loved to expand this to a two-part series or longer, it has so much potential. This fic is 6711 WORDS. I am shocked and I really, really hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did. Enjoy <3 )
WARNINGS: 18+, smut, mutual pining, angst, repressed feelings, jealousy, mating bond, friends to enemies to lovers, soft meaningful sex
Being born into the Autumn Court as a high fae was a punishment worse than death. The constant backstabbing of court members, the unrelenting criticism from your parents on how you needed to be better than the next person, and the wicked games everyone played were enough for you to want to run as far away as possible. Every waking moment of your life was full of fake smiles and feelings to try and pacify the ones in charge.
But for you to grow a crush on one of the most dangerous men in the Vanserra family? To lie awake at night fantasizing about life between the two of you? It was like adding poison to the never-healing wound.
And yet here you sat, lying underneath a great oak while the leaves fell around you while reading some silly romance and picturing Eris rescuing you from a tower. It was pathetic, and you knew in your heart after many years of him keeping you at arm's length, that there was nothing between the two of you.
You had grown up with him, chased him around the castle as kids and taken lessons together as teens. Both of your mothers were close, and so were you, or so you thought. As the years passed and his mother had more children, Eris grew more cold and distant.
If you did see him, it was only in hallway passings or the occasional dinners and dances. Even then he would turn you down, not even meeting your eyes as you would bow your head and go off with your other friends while trying not to look back.
Sometimes he would talk to you for a minute, though it looked painful for him, and every time he did it would rekindle that dying flame in your soul. You had never yearned for someone like this. And as the hopeless damsel in your book swooned over the prince who had just picked her for a dance, you realized you were no better off than her.
“Is it good?” A low voice said above you, snapping you out of your daydream and making you jump in surprise. Your head turned sharply, eyes widening when you saw Eris leaning against the tree you were tucked away in with a smirk on his face.
“E-Eris!” You exclaimed, pushing up to your feet immediately to address him properly. He watched as you bowed ever so gracefully, head tilted down, before rising back up to meet his eyes. “What are you doing out here?”
“I needed to talk a walk.” He explained while looking up at the sky, mouth downturned. “Fathers can be rather irritating, wouldn’t you agree?”
You nodded in understanding, your hands fisting the sides of your dress. Everyone knew how Beron treated his sons and his wife. He had no qualms in hiding his distaste for them and you always felt bad when one of them got publicly beaten or humiliated, especially if it was Eris. Your father wasn’t half as bad as Beron but he was still overbearing and demanding perfection, never taking your opinion into consideration.
It was the price you paid for being a member of the court.
“I’m sorry he’s being a pain.” You say sincerely. Eris’s eyes turned back to you, some unknown emotion flashing through them before fading away. “Is there anything I can do?”
“Ha.” He scoffed, looking you up and down in amusement. “Thank you for the laugh, Y/N. I needed that.”
“What? You don’t think I could take on the old man?” You grinned, taking a playful fighting stance as you used to as a child. “If I remember correctly, I beat you plenty of times so I think I could handle it.”
It was silly, acting like this in front of him and being a fully grown adult, but it was rare that Eris sought you out for company and you wanted to make the most of it. If anything, at least get him to smile. That was all you wanted.
“Oh yes, you are very fearsome indeed.” He smiled, his body relaxing for the first time in months. You saw the change and couldn’t stop the butterflies that blossomed in your belly, especially when he licked his lips and shook his head at your juvenile actions. “The entire Autumn Court would quiver under your feet.”
“I’m glad we see eye to eye. Just imagine it, standing on the-” You said while raising your foot proudly, not noticing the large root directly in front of you. It caught the toe of your shoe and you fell forward, cutting off your sentences as the ground rushed toward you.
You braced for the fall but it never came, two strong arms catching you before you could smash your face into the cold earth. The force of your descent sent the both of you tumbling and Eris groaned when his back hit the ground, his breath catching in his throat.
The air went still around you as you realized your circumstances, your body pressed against his own as he watched you with uncertainty and worry. Both of you were sharing the same breath, heartbeat thudding in your ears, and you could have sworn he leaned forward slightly into your touch.
But when the sound of footsteps approaching hit his ears, he pushed you off without so much of a warning. You cursed softly as a tree branch scraped against your cheek, rushing to stand and brush yourself off without so much as a hand offered from Eris.
“Eris? Are you out here?” Someone called, peeking over the ledge above you. It was one of his younger brothers. He saw the two of you and smirked, raising an eyebrow. “Am I interrupting something, brother?”
“Hardly. She wasn’t watching where she was going and ran into me.” Eris responded, his tone now cold as ice. “What do you want?”
His brother didn’t look entirely convinced but didn’t push the subject, moving his gaze from you to his brother. “Father is looking for you, or rather sending us to look for you.”
“I’m coming. Tell him I apologize for losing track of time.” Eris growled, barely looking back at you as he started to climb the stairs.
“I just am hurt you didn’t share the name of your new lover, Eris. I thought we were closer than that.” His brother taunted, leering at you which made your skin crawl. The situation had gone from the moment of your dreams to a nightmare in a matter of seconds and the sting of Eris’s dismissal was making it worse.
“Please.” Eris scowled, removing a leaf from his hair and looking down at you. “She holds no interest of mine any more than the peasant woman in the streets.”
It felt like he had just stabbed you and twisted the knife to get as deep as possible, his eyes full of cruelty. His brother laughed as they walked back towards their home while you sunk to the floor, hot tears burning your cheeks.
How could you be so, so careless with your feelings? Why on earth did you keep this candle of hope alive for someone like him, someone who obviously couldn’t stand the thought of you?
It was a harsh reality check and you felt like your entire body had been dipped in ice water. The trees rustled around you in a song you didn’t want to hear, burying your head in your arms as you pulled your knees to your chest. After all this time, all the two of you had been through. You had finally reached your breaking point.
Eris Vanserra was not the man you thought he was. He had grown to be like his father, a comparison you never thought you would make. It was time to grow up and leave childish dreams behind, and that started with him.
You wiped your eyes and nose on your sleeve, the book from earlier lying on the ground. It was open to the page where they get married, sealing their love with true love’s kiss, and in a fit of anger, you grabbed it and chucked it into the woods.
There was no such thing as happily ever afters in your world.
It had been a week since the incident with Eris and although it was getting better, you still found yourself moping around late at night. Time would heal the wound but as your mother stood behind you, styling your hair to perfection, you hoped tonight would speed it up.
“Oh, my darling, I am so glad you agreed so readily to Cadoc. When he approached your father I was sure you would have your doubts but,” She sighed happily, looking at you in the mirror proudly. “You knew what to do…for the family.”
“Of course, mother.” You responded almost robotically, the fake smile you have perfected over the years gracing your face easily. “I would do anything for our family.”
She turned you around and patted your cheek before gathering her things and leaving, calling over her shoulder to be ready to leave soon. As soon as the door shut you let out the breath you had been holding and walked to the large mirror, taking in your attire for the night.
The dress fit you perfectly as did the accessories, making you feel like royalty. It wasn’t every day that you got engaged so you might as well enjoy how you looked. Your parents had orchestrated a grand dinner to be held in the great hall of the Forest House to celebrate. An invitation was sent out to every single member of the court.
Of course, that meant the Vanserras were attending but you didn’t want to focus on that. Eris was in your past, worth no more than a speck of dirt on the giant emerald ring that rested on your finger from your fiance.
And if you were being honest, you could do far worse than Cadoc. He was an affluent member of the court, his father owned quite a bit of farmland, and most importantly you had never heard of him laying a hand on a woman. It was a low bar to be set but you would take him over someone like Aagun who proudly boasted of the bruises he would leave on his wife.
Someone knocked on your door and you took a deep breath, squaring your shoulders and following your mother down the steps and into the hallway where your betrothed was waiting for you.
As you drew closer to the doors, you felt fear bubble into your gut, the weight of the situation dawning on you. You were about to walk into your engagement party, with a man you barely knew, and then in a month's time, you were to be wed. This was what you had been raised for, to be a wife and mother, but you couldn’t shake the feeling that what was happening was wrong.
Like you were going against fate itself.
But when Cadoc rounded the corner, his own parents flanking his sides, you knew you could not say anything. It would put your family at risk to deny such an advantageous marriage and embarrass them in front of everyone. You had to do this.
He stopped in front of you, his green eyes dull but soft, and lifted your hand to kiss. You smiled politely as you had so many times before, trying not to compare the way his touch felt to Eris’s. “You look beautiful, Y/N.” He complimented, not letting go of your hand as you both turned to face the doors that were about to open.
“Thank you, Cadoc. You look as handsome as ever.” You replied, the words tasting foul in your mouth. He gave you another reassuring smile just as the large, oak doors opened to reveal the two of you.
The sound of applause echoed around you as you let him lead you into the great hall, everyone’s faces blurring together as the lights shone too bright. You could feel the air get harder to breathe but you did your best to control it, smiling brightly as you finally arrived at your table.
“Thank you.” You murmured as he held out the chair for you, making sure you were comfortable before taking the seat beside you. Both of your families took their respective places and the feast began, music starting up from somewhere in the corner of the room.
You didn’t even wait for the server to finish pouring your glass before you all but snatched it and downed it one gulp. If you were going to get through this, you needed to be at least a little buzzed. Your mother shot you a glare and you apologized, placing the glass back down and turning your attention to the decorations.
It was beautifully decorated, all the colors of fall present with touches of gold. The candles were all lit, including the giant chandelier above your head, and it made the entire room glow like embers. You noticed how well dressed everyone was as well, though you were the only one in cream, and couldn’t help but think back to when you would attend these parties as a teenager. How you would think the bride-to-be was feeling, the excitement of wanting to be in her seat.
And the irony that now you sat, staring at the table of children, and envying their innocence.
A flash of red hair caught the corner of your eye and before you could stop yourself, you were now fully facing Eris. He was sitting at his family’s table, in the front of course, with a dark scowl on his face. All of the emotions you had been shoving down were threatening to rise to the surface, the memory of his wicked words bouncing around your brain.
So, with all the grace of the woman you were raised to be, you drew your lips into a tight line and turned away to face your fiance. Cadoc immediately turned to you and you took the opportunity to lean forward and give him a chaste kiss on his lips.
He seemed shocked at your boldness but fixed his face before anyone noticed, returning your kiss with his own. You could feel the eyes of everyone on you and you decided you needed another drink, the food now being served giving you an excuse to drink as many glasses as you wanted.
As the night went on you could feel your body relax, though the same couldn’t be said for your thoughts. You were having to consciously stop yourself from seeking out Eris and every time you stumbled, he was always glaring at you or Cadoc. It was starting to get on your nerves but before you could get too heated, or do something stupid, your fiance decided it was time to dance.
All the lessons you took as a child paid off well when it came to your ability to dance. The music made your soul feel light as you twirled in his arms, following his lead and smiling at the clapping of everyone watching. You were surprised at how well Cadoc danced, both of your bodies easily falling into line, and you started to think that perhaps your earlier concerns were just pre-engagement jitters.
That or the wine had really gone to your head.
As the song came to a close and you began to bow to him, you gasped as he pulled you into his body and kissed you deeply. You had no choice but to kiss him back, wrapping your arms around his neck as your friends and other members of the court cheered you on.
Cadoc finally pulled back and blushed, letting you take a step back as another song began. “I’m sorry about that, Y/N. I got caught up in the moment.” He apologized, scratching the back of his head. You knew he meant it and although the kiss didn’t feel right at all, you didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
“It’s fine, Cadoc. I promise. Shall we have another dance?” You asked, motioning to the other people who had joined the dance floor. He let out a sigh of relief and nodded, reaching for your hand only to grunt when he was not so gently pushed out of the way.
“Excuse me-” He began to say before you both looked up and saw who had done it. Eris was staring at him as one might stare at a sworn enemy, his eyes full of fury as he raised an eyebrow in question.
“I’m sorry, did I interrupt?” Eris asked, already knowing the answer. You could feel the arrogance rolling off of him as he stared down Cadoc. “It truly was not my intention to break up such a happy couple.”
“What do you want, Eris?” You snapped, making them both turn to you in surprise. Cadoc looked worried, knowing you could easily be beaten for talking to him like that, while Eris seemed…hurt?
“I came to ask for a dance, if your fiance doesn’t mind.” He replies, barely glancing at Cadoc. When he went to answer you cut him off, the wine in your belly making it harder to control your emotions.
“If he doesn’t, I do.” You grabbed Cadoc’s hand and began to lead him away only to hiss when you were pulled back roughly.
Eris was fuming, his nostrils flared, and you met his rage with your own. He had no right to try and dance with you after what he had said. You knew he was doing this to get a rise out of you, to make you relive his words, and you were kicking yourself for not realizing just how cruel he had become.
Before the two of you could start an argument, you felt Cadoc let go of your hand. “It is no trouble, my lord. I was going to visit anyways.” He reassured while backing away, giving you a look that said ‘don’t do anything stupid’, and disappearing into the crowd.
A throat cleared in front of you and you let out a huff of frustration, facing Eris once more. He motioned to the group of dancers and you rolled your eyes, following his lead into the swarm.
The music was loud and dominating, much like the man before you, as he twirled you into his arms. You could feel his muscles underneath the flimsy silk of his shirt as you both battled for the lead. It reminded you of your dance lessons as children, neither one of you wanting to give an inch.
“Still a stubborn dancer, I see.” He said, smirking at the scowl on your face.
“I just don’t have the right partner.” You retorted, your skirts gliding between the both of you as the music began to pick up. “It’s why I am so glad to have Cadoc.”
Eris’s jaw ticked at the mention of his name, his hands tightening around your own as you spun around once more. When he pulled you back into his arms, he made sure you felt every inch of him, his head dipping down to your neck sensually. It almost made your knees give out, cursing your body on its weakness before you shoved away from him and went back into the proper stance.
“Don’t do that. Not here, not ever.” You warned him, trying to keep your voice low so as not to alert anyone around you. The last thing you wanted was for a rumor to start before your marriage could even get off the ground. “Do not act like you have a claim to me.”
“I thought that’s what you wanted.” His voice was teasing, his words making your head fuzzy. You couldn’t figure out what game he was trying to play, why all of a sudden he was acting like this of all places. “I thought you wanted me, my attention.”
And as the music reached a crescendo, both of you gliding through the mass of bodies, you realized what was happening. Eris was jealous. He knew your feelings, had known all along, and yet he only cared when you had moved on.
With the wine, the music, and the realization of just how fucked up this situation was, you couldn’t hold in your anger any longer. You pulled away from him forcefully, glaring at him with all the hatred you could muster. He looked taken aback by your show of emotions and you had to resist the urge to smack him across the face.
“Do not ever come near me again, Eris Vanserra.” You seethed, fists curling at your side as everyone continued to dance around you. “I hate you.”
You didn’t wait for his reply, turning sharply on your heel and storming past everyone and out the doors. Some people turned to look at you, whispering to each other, but you could care less. You needed to get away from everything.
The hallway was cool and dark as you started to run to your room, your heels clicking against the floor. You had to lift your skirts in order not to trip, not daring to look back in fear that he was chasing you. When you reached the staircase that led to your floor you finally stopped, taking a deep breath and leaning against the wall.
Tears were prickling the corner of your eyes and threatening to ruin your makeup but you were powerless to stop them. You placed a hand over your heart as you tried to process what had just happened, knowing people were going to start looking for you soon. All you had to do was make it to your room.
Just as you went to peek around the corner to see if anyone had come out yet, a warm hand slapped over your mouth and drug you backward and into the darkness.
After a moment you felt your feet hit solid ground and the hand release you. You wasted no time in raising your fist and swinging at your kidnapper, your eyes widening when your hand was caught by Eris. He glared at you, your fist inches away from his face, and pushed your hand back down to your side.
“Where are we?” You asked loudly, taking multiple steps backward as you surveyed the room. He went to cover your mouth again to hush you but you shoved him with all your strength, not wanting any part of him to touch you. “I swear on the Mother if you try to touch me-”
“Will you be quiet?” Eris hissed, thinly veiled anger lacing his words as he glanced toward the door. “They are sure to be looking for you and unless you have an explanation for the dramatic exit you just made, I would think you should be thanking me for rescuing you.”
If there were ever a moment that steam could come from your ears, it would be now. Your vision turned red at the edges as you laughed in disbelief.
“Thanking you? Have you gone mad, or is that your ego grew so much that your brain got squished?” You raged, the fire that lay deep within your bones making its way to the surface. “None of this would have happened if you would have stayed far, far away from me. You have no right to pretend that all of a sudden I am everything you desire now that I have moved on from you.”
Eris took a threatening step towards you, making your back hit the cool wall behind you as he stared you down. “Is that then? You’ve moved on because some boy gave you a pretty ring and promised you the moon and the stars?” He asked snarkily, tilting his head as your eyebrows scrunched together at his implication. “Do I mean nothing to you?”
You swallowed the burning lump in your throat and raised your head up high, your heart breaking as you said, “No more than the peasant down the street, Eris Vanserra.” The words were not what you felt, not at all, but after everything he had put you through you were not about to give in to him when he realized what he wanted too late. This was caused by his actions, not yours.
He stood there and you watched the words sink in, your soul crying out as you saw true pain in his eyes. You were no better, your hands shaking as you pushed past him and made your way to the door.
“Y/N,” Eris called painfully, grabbing your hand before you could touch the handle.
You knew you should have snatched your hand back, should have opened the door, and never looked back, but you couldn’t. There was something in his voice, a desperation, that pulled a string in your heart you didn’t know existed. You closed your eyes and took a deep breath before turning to face him, bracing yourself for the worst.
“Don’t leave me.” He pleaded, sinking down to his knees in front of you. It was a sight you weren’t prepared for, to see the heir of the Autumn Court begging for you, and it made your eyes widen in disbelief. “I can’t lose you. I know what I have done, what I have said, cannot be taken back. I know that.”
Eris looked down at your hands, at how different they were, and took another steadying breath. “I thought I was protecting you. I did not want to subject you to the horrors of what my life is like, what my family is like, and so I did my best to keep you away.”
“I wanted to keep you safe but when I saw you with him, dancing and kissing like you had known him your whole life, I couldn’t stop myself.” You could hear the pain in his voice as he pressed on, looking up at you once more. “I acted out of spite. I thought I could endure it for you but I can’t, not with you not knowing the truth first.”
As he rose up, you let go of his hands, your brain trying to understand everything he just said. Eris had treated you like this to protect you from him and his family, wanting to keep you safe from what being with him would surely entail. It was a huge revelation and while your soul sang for the joy of the situation, you had one question that needed to be answered.
“You don’t hate me?” You whispered, your voice wavering in fear that this was all a dream.
He cupped your face in both hands, wiping away the stray tear that had escaped, and said earnestly, “I have loved you for my entire life, Y/N. My feelings for you have never waned nor faded, it is a love that the Cauldron destined and I have been the most ignorant fool to run from it for so long.”
As soon as he stopped speaking, you felt that same string from earlier tug you closer. It felt so real that it made you look down in confusion, wondering what it was. When you looked back up, Eris had an entirely different emotion in his eyes.
“Can you feel it too?” You asked incredulously, the old stories of fated mates shimmering in your mind. It was considered a fairytale by most with how rare it was. Even you brushed it off as fantasy.
Eris nodded, a small smile creeping onto his face. “I’ve felt it for a while, though I refused to believe it. I couldn’t understand what I did to deserve you as a mate.”
You wrapped your arms around his neck and pulled him down to your height, pressing your foreheads together intimately. Unlike with Cadoc, this felt entirely right. For the first time in years, your heart was content as he pulled you closer to his body.
“My mate,” You breathed, staring at him through your eyelashes as he gazed at you adoringly. “I cannot think of anyone more deserving of love than you.”
He closed his eyes, letting your words cleanse his body and give him the peace he needed. The room was quiet and warm as you held each other, sharing the same breath as you both basked in the radiance of finding your other half.
And when he brushed his nose against yours, you smiled and followed his lead into the kiss you had been dreaming of for years. His lips worked against yours slowly, savoring the taste and feel of your skin as your fingers threaded into his long, auburn hair.
With great care, he guided you backward until you fell onto his bed. You let out a soft laugh, smiling up at him and admiring the twinkle in his eyes that hadn’t shone since you were kids. He placed both of his arms beside your head and bent down to kiss you again, his hair creating a curtain around the two of you.
Your heart was doing cartwheels in your chest as you took a leap and deepened the kiss, licking his bottom lip shyly to see if he wanted more. Eris immediately opened his mouth for you, letting his tongue slide against your own as you moaned prettily underneath him.
The need you had for him to touch you, to claim you, was growing by the second, and if the tent in his pants told you anything, it was that he felt the same way. You gasped when his teeth caught your lip and tugged, a feeling akin to a branding iron filling your belly at the action.
“I want more.” You whispered, your chest rising quickly in small breaths. “Touch me, Eris, please.”
“Oh, how I’ve dreamt of you saying those words.” Eris purred, brushing a stray hair out of your face tenderly. “But I need you to understand what that means. If we go further, you will be mine, body and soul, no one else’s. Do you want that?”
You nodded and rose up to your elbows, making sure he held your gaze. “I’ve never wanted anything more. It’s always been you.”
Eris looked for any sign of doubt in your eyes but found none. He stood up straight and offered his hand, watching you take it without hesitation. “Then let me bed you properly.”
He pulled you to stand with him and turned you towards the giant hearth, the fire dancing for you as he began to undo the laces of your dress. Every graze of his fingers against your skin made you shiver in anticipation. You raised your arms and undid the pins in your hair and took out the jewels, letting your hair fall naturally.
“You are so beautiful, Y/N.” He murmured against your skin, tugging the sleeves down until your back and shoulders were bare to him. Your eyes fluttered closed as he kissed up to the nape of your neck, his hands holding your hips as he undid the final lace. “Every inch of you.”
Your dress started to fall off of your body, and you didn’t stop it, the material pooling at your feet as Eris took a step back to admire you. The urge to cover yourself was strong, but he spun you around before you could even think about it, his eyes full of desire.
His hands were itching to touch you, to feel how soft your breasts were in his hands, but he maintained control. Tonight was about you. “Never in my life have I seen anything so bewitching.”
A blush rose to your cheeks at all the praise he was giving you, making your insecurities float away with the wind. You took a deep breath and reached behind you, undoing your bra and letting it fall to the floor with a soft thud. He bit the inside of his cheek as you followed with your panties, watching him as you slid them off to join the rest of your clothes.
“I believe it is my turn, my lord.” You tease, sounding more breathless than you would have liked. Eris smirked and opened his arms for you to start, his eyes never leaving your body as you began to strip him down.
It was hard to put into words how intimate this was. You had dreamed of doing this with him, spent many sleepless nights touching yourself to the very idea, but as you stood here, you were nervous. So many questions on if he would like what he saw, and what you did, were swarming around your mind.
Eris must have sensed your uncertainty because as you went to remove his pants, he stopped you, fingers tight on your wrist. “We can stop at any time, Y/N.”
“I know, I just,” You faltered, memorizing every scar and freckle on his chest before looking up at him. “I’m nervous it won’t be what you want. I won’t be what you want.”
He sighed and placed a finger under your chin. “I can see I need to do a better job at making up for my previous statements.” He pointed out, lifting you without warning and carrying you to the bed.
You started to protest, but he shushed you, kissing you lightly before letting his lips go lower and lower on your body. Every kiss felt like fire, your hips arching slightly when he arrived at your breasts. He wasted no time in lavishing them with attention, sucking and licking your nipples until they stood at attention.
“Oooh.” You moaned, a wave of arousal making your sex slick as he took in your every reaction. The entire time he was toying with your body he was praising you as well, telling you how wonderful you were and how you were everything he wanted.
As he moved on from your breasts, your stomach began to flutter in excitement. He nestled himself between your thighs and spread you open without warning, groaning as the smell of your arousal and the sight of your gleaming cunt made him feral.
“Do not take your eyes off me, do you understand?” He told you, throwing your legs over his shoulders so he could eat you out properly. “I want you to watch as I make you cum.”
The words were filthy but made a tingle go down your spine, nodding in understanding. Eris smirked and then began his feast on you, immediately going for your clit. It was a pleasure that had you crying out his name already, your hips bucking against his face as he sucked it into his mouth and hummed to increase your heat.
“Oh my gods!” You moaned as he switched from your clit to your hole, licking up every drop of nectar he could. “Eris…”
“You taste fucking divine, Y/N.” He growled into your pussy, his fingers digging painfully into your thighs. His cock was aching to be free, to rut into you and spill his seed so that everyone knew you were his. Just the thought made him move one hand to shove down his pants so he could fist himself.
Your ears perked up as you heard him getting himself off, the visual making you even wetter as he continued to pleasure you with his mouth. He was going to make you cum soon, faster than anyone else had. You started to let out little moans and whines as you ground against his face, wanting this to last forever but also wanting to cum.
“Are you about to cum, mouse?” Eris taunted, his balls tightening as you cried out a small “yes!” He went back to your clit and flicked it over and over again, making the tip of his tongue just hot enough to send you spiraling into the best orgasm of his life.
“Eris!” You squealed, soaking his face as you threw your head back into the pillows from bliss. He burned the image into his memory as you reached up and started to pinch your nipples to prolong your pleasure, riding out the euphoria until you couldn’t handle the stimulation.
He sauntered up your body like a fox, kissing you forcefully so that you could taste yourself on his tongue. You met his passion with what strength you had left, grasping his face with both hands.
“Please, Y/N,” Eris panted into your mouth, kicking his pants the rest of the way off before rubbing himself across your slit. “I need you.”
“Take me, make me yours.” You commanded, spreading your legs further.
Eris looked down so he could watch himself sink inside you, the warmth and tightness of your cunt already making him want to bust. You groaned loudly at the stretch, grasping onto his upper arms as he continued until he bottomed out inside you.
Both of you were drunk on each other, the mating bond making everything feel ten times more intense as he pulled back out and slammed back in. The headboard rocked behind you, but neither of you cared. If anything it spurred you on.
“You feel, ah!” You whimpered, biting down on your lower lip as he lifted your hips with both of his hands to give himself a new angle. “Fuck me, Eris…”
He growled as your hands fell back to the bed, grasping at the sheets so hard he was sure you were going to rip them. The way your tits bounced as he fucked you was hypnotic, the firelight illuminating your sweat-slickened skin making you look like a goddess.
“All mine.” He swore, eyebrows furrowed in concentration as he felt the first tingles of his orgasm in the base of his spine. “Forever.���
You nodded fervently, feeling another orgasm sneaking up as you watched him in awe. His muscles were rippling with each thrust, his hair stuck to the sides of his face, but what had you most fascinated were his eyes.
They were staring directly at you, pupils blown wide, and they were full of utter devotion. It showed you a man who would do anything for you, who would love you always.
And as you watched him throw his own head back in ecstasy, his throat bobbing as he began to fill you up, you knew you felt the exact same way. He was your mate, and you were his.
“Forever.” You repeated before chanting his name, your walls squeezing him unbearably tight as you came on his thick cock. The feeling of his hot cum made you crave more, clawing at his chest until he bent down so you could kiss him intensely.
Eris intertwined your hands together as he began to slow down, looking over when he felt cool metal on one of your fingers. It was your engagement ring. You were still coming down from your own high as he took it off and, without a word, threw it into the fire behind him.
“My mate.” He proclaimed into your neck, closing his eyes as he rejoiced in the words. You were his forever.