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#night court
ofduskanddreams · 2 days
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✨Azris✨
reposting not allowed on any platforms, reblogs welcome
Thank you to @ creating_dark_art for bringing my soft!Azris dreams to life with this commission!
[sfw] Drabble of the scene portrayed above, below:
“Gods, I’ve needed this all day.” Azriel’s voice is low, leaden with desire. His fingers tug at the infuriating number of buttons concealing Eris’s creamy freckled skin.
“You had me this morning.” Eris grins, tossing his crown onto an armchair and relishing the light feeling of its absence. “Still so insatiable, Shadowsinger? Even after all these years?”
With a fist full of Eris’s shirt Azriel tugs his mate closer. “You’re just as bad as I am, High Lord.” He says the title mockingly, but he’s smiling too much for it to be anything other than an endearment.
“Can you really blame me? After everything we went through it’s still hard to believe that we made it here sometimes.” Eris drags a ringed finger across the tattoos on Azriel’s bare chest.
“But we did.” Azriel’s shadows twine around them both, half-shrouding them from the glow of the fire.
Smiling, Eris slides his hand up Azriel’s neck and into his hair, holding him, reminding himself that his mate is truly here, in spite of all the odds. “We did, didn’t we.” It’s a statement, not a question.
Their half discarded clothing and plans beyond that are momentarily forgotten as Eris lets his mate pull him in for a hungry kiss. It's a firm reassurance that they made it. It’s a passionate promise that they’ll face whatever’s next together. It’s everything.
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ae-neon · 2 days
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Maybe unpopular ACOTAR opinion?
I prefer the Spring Court to the Night Court solely based on the Courts themselves, regardless of the characters who live in them.
The SC feels more wild and whimsical and faerie. Like besides the manor and a few villages, there don't seem to be any cities. Calanmai and the Rite take place in open fields with all sorts of Fae dancing in the firelight to strange off-kilter music. The sprawling gardens of the manor slowly blur into the forests. It feels like magic, like Fae.
The NC was cool in concept and maybe if the CoN was really the seat of the HL, with other smaller cities built into mountains too - like imagine Velaris built inside a seaside cliff with only a few well hidden entrances. That's a secret city. Instead it's just kinda Paris? There's something so human and a little mundane about it.
Like tell me it doesn't make sense to have the bat winged people of Illyria who worship a mountain live in cave towns inside those mountains?
Also steppes means flat unforested land and the Illyrian Steppes are a forested mountainous area. Just learned this so I'm gonna keep repeating it😤
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starfallserotonin · 3 days
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A Court of Silver Flames — aesthetic board
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moonlightazriel · 14 hours
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The winter solstice /// Azriel X F!Reader
Summary: “Azriel and reader sneaking from the Christmas celebration to have sex and celebrating on their own 😭❤( smutt amd fluff )”
Warnings: SMUT and Fluff
Word Count: 1K
Notes: Thank you anon for requesting this, i loved this idea. ❤️
I looked around, the joy and love filling the room as my family celebrated, the winter solstice was crowded this year, ever since the war ended and the courts started to walk together in the path towards the peace, every year more people joined the night court in this day.
People danced, laughed and drank, Cassian and Nesta were the ones dominating the dance floor, Mor was the responsible for getting as many people as she could drunk, and Rhys and Feyre were the ones welcoming people.
My eyes caught sight of the swirl of shadows dancing on a distant corner, my mate was leaned on a wall, his hair falling perfectly on his forehead, his black shirt tight on his chest, I could see the muscles underneath, his black pants disappearing in the mist of shadows. He was talking to Helion, but his eyes drifted towards me a couple of times, smiling in my direction.
I felt the heat behind my neck as I watched him laugh at something Helion said, with the festivities, we didn’t have enough alone time and I missed him, that and the alcohol on my system making my mind go crazy with thoughts of going home and getting alone with him.
I got up, walking towards the pile of presents in the corner, spotting easily the one I brought for him, grabbing it, I rushed to the bathroom locking myself in it, I winnowed home, dropping the gift on the couch before going back again to the party. It was almost time for the gift exchange when I approached him.
-Honey, I think I forgot your present at home. Do you mind if we get back to take it? - I whispered in his ear, a hand on his chest and he turned to my direction, a smile on his lips as he studied my face.
-Do you want me to go there?- He asked innocently.
- Oh no, you won’t know where it is. - I said and he nodded, holding my hand and winnowing us home. We stepped out of the shadows and he turned to me, a raised eyebrow as he spotted the gift on the couch.
-What are you up to?- I didn’t answer, I rushed to him, throwing my hands around his neck and kissing him hungrily, his scarred hands holding me against him, I moaned, feeling the warmth between my legs growing, I missed him really much.
His hands opened the zipper of my dress, the fabric easily slipping down my body, just like his lips, that travelled down my neck, sucking and biting, he sat on the couch, and I sat on top of him, my hands grabbing his hair as I unbuttoned his shirt.
I removed his shirt as my hips moved against his hard cock, kissing his chest and one of my fingers tracing his tattoos, I could feel him shivering at my touch and I smiled.
I got up, and kneeled in front of him, opening his belt and his zipper, freeing his cock, his cock jumping on my face, I licked the pre cum, grabbing it firmly as I licked it up and down, shoving it entirely in my mouth, Azriel breathed hard, his hand pulling my hair as I sucked him, I looked up, he was watching me, his thumb caressed my cheek and he smiled at me, his love reaching me through the bond.
I felt his cock twitching in my mouth and he gripped my hair harder, forcing me up and pulling me on his lap again, his hands precisely sliding my underwear aside and entering fully inside me, I moaned loudly at the sensation.
His hands pressed my hips as he guided my moves, and I kissed him, every part of my body burning for him as we made love, one of his hands slid between us, reaching my clit and rubbing circles on it, making me moan even louder as the knot on my belly kept growing, faster and faster until I was moving frantically against him, we both lost in each other as we reached our orgasms, his name falling from my lips as he kissed my forehead.
I rested my tired head against his chest and looked to the side, spotting the discarded gift on the couch, without getting off of him, I reached for it.
-Happy solstice my love. - He grabbed the gift and started to open it, I watched as his eyes filled with tears, he opened his mouth and looked at me.
- You remembered it. - He said looking at the book, I managed to find the book his mom used to read at him when he was a child, it took a while but Helion helped me to find the last exemplary. He kissed me and hugged me as his tears streamed down his face.
-Open it. - I whispered and he did, getting completely shocked as he spotted the painting of his mother inside. - I hope you don’t mind, I asked Rhys to show her to Feyre and she painted it, I thought that maybe you would like.
-I loved it, so much, you don’t know how much this means to me. Now i will always have a piece of her with me. - He smiled as he still cried.
- You can read it to our future children.- He looked at me again, his eyes wide as he breathed.
-Do you want to have children with me? - He sounded like he couldn’t believe what he just heard.
- Of course I do Az, I would be a fool to not want that.- He laughed, hard and I followed him. He placed the book nicely on the couch and grabbed my legs and jumped from the couch, running towards our bedroom. - Where are we going?- I chuckled.
- Oh we’re going to start making our babies. - He said and I laughed loudly, and he placed me on the bed, kissing my forehead. - I love you.
- I love you too Az.
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cartmans-wife2 · 1 day
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Please let us acknowledge how SJM actually portrayed government realistically when the Night Court was suffering and the Inner Circle proceeded to purchase a fifth (5) mansion.
Got to give credit where credit is due.
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azsazz · 3 months
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Yay I can finally share these! You guys are the first to know about the ACOTAR travel postcards I designed that are officially licensed by SJM! 💙
This was literally such a fun project and I started this on my cross-country road trip and I cranked them out so fast. I loved every second of this and I do have a few more ideas for other places in the ACOTAR universe too.
Which one is your favorite? 😏
I'm going to be putting these up on my Etsy shop if you are interested in purchasing a postcard of them (just waiting on them to arrive to me).
From A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Wings and Ruin, A Court of Frost and Starlight, A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas, © 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021. Artwork by Kierstin Kurczek. Created with permission of Writers House LLC acting as agent for the author.
**The art depicted on the products listed for sale is wholly original to me and has been approved by Sarah J. Maas for use on the products. Notwithstanding such approval, Sarah J. Maas has not collaborated with me in any way in the creation of the art, and the traits of any characters depicted in the art is in no way based on any foreknowledge by me of the traits of any characters in future books by Sarah J. Maas.
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acomaflove · 2 months
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Rhysand after winning a ton of money for betting Feyre would survive fighting the worm:
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loveless-anime · 10 months
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twihard23 · 12 days
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GWYNRIEL X LITTLE MERMAID pt 2
I miss them and can’t wait for the day we’ll get to read their book 💙🦇👩🏻‍🦰 for now, enjoy another little mermaid parallel between gwynriel 🥹 prints and stickers are available on redbubble! Link below ;)
https://www.redbubble.com/i/sticker/Gwynriel-x-Little-Mermaid-by-katiascandale02/132481271.EJUG5
Please share everywhere! Just tag me, @ twihard23 on tiktok
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azrielslostshadow · 18 days
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I see you
AZRIEL x DAY COURT READER 
Word Count: 1252
Warnings: Slight mention of food (mostly coffee). Mentions getting yelled at (very briefly). 
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You once swore up and down to Rhysand that you loved Velaris. You had promised him and the rest of his Inner Circle that the Night Court and its mountains reminded you so much of your home in the Dawn Court. You told them that you loved the people of Velaris. The fairies in the city often reminded you of the people who you grew up with.  
However, you were not feeling that love right this moment. 
Your day literally sucked massive balls. First, the coffee shop had been out of your favorite drink. Then, upon entering the archives the intern bumped into you and spilled coffee all over you. You couldn’t find the documents you needed for your research. You lost your favorite pen. The intern ate your fucking lunch. Some fae male visiting from the Spring Court tried to explain to you how your job as a historian worked. The paperwork for a future expedition got mixed up with the paperwork for a past expedition. The intern broke the frame for a painting the Helion had loaned the night court. 
Then on your way home, tired and frustrated and entirely ready for bed, some male had yelled at you after mixing you up with another faerie who stole from him. And if that wasn’t enough, not only had you forgotten to shut the windows to your apartment and allowed the winter snow to make its way into your living room, your boyfriend was nowhere to be found.
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After cleaning up the snow and shutting your windows, you made your way to your bathroom. You filled the tub with the hottest water possible, added soaking salts and oils, lit a couple of candles, and began playing relaxing music. Stripping yourself of your clothes, you made your way to your tub in hopes of forgetting the shit day you had and closed your eyes. 
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“My love.” A voice whispered to you. 
“Mhmm?” 
“Angel.” 
“Mhmm?” 
“Angel, you have to wake up,” Azriel whispered to you once again, a hint of laughter light in his voice. 
“No.”
Azriel chuckled, quiet and reserved and entirely like himself, at you and your tired state. “Rough day?”
“The worst.”
“Oh?” You could feel him smiling at you. 
“Mhm.”
 Neither of you said anything for a moment. The music was still playing in the background. It was quiet and peaceful and felt like home. Azriel felt like home as he squatted by the tub and let his arms sit on the edge of either side of you, his head slightly leaning against yours.
“You?” 
“Mhmm?”
“How was your day, Azriel?”
“My day?”
“Your day.”
Azriel said nothing for a moment. Then, “Just another day at the office.”
You laughed, “Another day at the office?” Azriel's job was unlike any other. A ‘day at the office’ involved things some would rather not know about. The shadowsinger’s work was demanding, both emotionally and physically. Some nights Azriel would come home to you, unable to speak of the things he had done or seen. 
“Yeah. Another day at the office.” 
“You sound tired.”
“You sound worse.” 
“Oh?” You smiled up at him, eyes closed enjoying the moment.
“Oh.”
Times like these with Azriel were rare. The High Lord demanded a lot from the Illyrian warrior. His time, his mind, his patience, his heart. And Azriel was always ready to give more if need be. 
Your work was demanding as well. You often spent extra hours in the archives doing additional research to prove yourself to your peers, afraid of falling behind or disappointing Thesan, your High Lord and brother.
“You should probably get out of the water before you catch a cold, don’t you think so Angel?” 
“Maybe.”
“Maybe?”
“I’m tired Az.”
Azriel pressed his lips to your temple, “I know.”
“You know?”
“I know.”
Finally, you opened your eyes to look at him, at your love. His hair was slightly longer than usual and windswept. Clearly, he had flown here, when normally he would have walked. His eyes were bright, happy, and relaxed. A smile graced his lips, rare to others, but a normal sight to you. Nonetheless, Azriel’s smile was your favorite. It melted away your worries. 
You found yourself more relaxed, here looking at Azriel, than during your entire bath. 
“Okay.”
“Okay?”
“Yeah,” you spoke softly, “help me out?”
Helping you out of the tub, he wrapped you in a towel before leaning down to open the drain in the tub. The Shadowsinger led you to your bedroom, where he helped you into your pajamas. It was then that you realized he had already changed out of his leathers. 
He sat you on your bed, “wait here.” 
Disappearing into the bathroom for a moment, you could briefly hear Azriel blowing out the candles you lit earlier, before rummaging in the drawers and returning to you, a hairbrush in hand. 
You cocked an eyebrow at the male.
“What? You get mad when you wake up after forgetting to brush your hair.” He told you as he sat behind you. 
“I can do it you know?”
“I know.”
“Mhm?”
Azriel kissed the back of your head, “I want to do this for you. Please?”
“Okay.”
“Okay?”
“Okay.”
Only then did he begin brushing your hair. Starting at the bottom of one section and slowly making his way higher. You knew that Azriel watched you, he watched all the people he loved, but you hadn’t realized how closely he watched you, even doing the most mundane of things until you felt him brush your hair in the exact way that you normally did on your own. It made you feel more loved than anything else he had done for you at this point. 
“Is it an oiling day?”
You couldn’t help the smile that escaped you, “oiling day?”
“Yeah, you know when you put all those oils in your hair? The one’s in the pink and grey bottles that make your hair smell nice?” Azriel noticed you. He noticed every part of you, from the way you stood when you were angry to the way you took care of your hair. Your position as the younger sister of a future high lord had made you invisible. Optional. A spare in every sense. But Azriel, the feared shadowsinger saw you. He saw you for all the pieces of yourself you didn’t love, and all the pieces you did, and he loved each part of you individually, equally, and with grace. 
“No. I don’t need to oil my hair today.”
“Oh.” He sounded disappointed. 
“I should oil it the day after tomorrow though.”
“Do you mind if I do it for you?”
“You?”
“Yeah. Me.”
“You don’t have to.”
“I know.” Azriel was done with your hair. He dropped the brush on the table next to him before pulling you onto his lap so that he could hold you as tightly as possible, “But I want to. For you.”
When you looked up into Azriel’s eyes, you could have sworn you saw the entire universe in them. He stared down at you, bright and excited and entirely hopeful. In this moment, alone with you in your bed, he was not the Shadowsinger or the Night Court’s Spymaster. He was simply Azriel. Kind, and good, and loving, and sweet, and yours. Azriel, who saw you, who trusted you, who knows your hair care routine. Azriel who loves you for no reason other than to love you.
“Okay.”
“Okay?”
“Yeah, you can oil my hair.” 
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highladyvanserra · 4 months
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Azriel Shadowsinger 🦇
by tonyviento on Instagram
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jmoonjones · 2 months
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For Solstice Feyre makes up for the lack of Nesta paintings by painting the first time Nesta and Cassian met by me
(perspective is my nemesis)
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ae-neon · 3 days
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ACOTAR IS ACTUALLY SO CONFUSING
I never know what time period/s the ACOTAR universe is set in - particularly because the clothing is so all over the place. Like why is Feyre wearing leggings and uggs?
I understand having magic both advances and stagnant culture, especially when the magic users are immortal.
Then there's the added difference of court layout and bad worldbuilding lack of information on even the courts we spend the most time in. Is the manor the heart of the SC or is it just HL residence? Does Spring have no cities?
Velaris feels like a 19th century city maybe? So when they go out dancing are they jiving to jazz or medieval tavern music or folk music?
Remember when the NC clothing was sorta a caricature of Middle Eastern/North African clothing? But it's also a Northern Court?
And the Illyrian Steppes are a mountainous forested area even tho steppes means flat and unforested land. Shouldn't most Illyrians be farmers/herders? How do they support their warrior culture without a majority doing food based work? Do they have cultural clothing outside of leathers? They must since so many dead Illyrian women were seamstresses for some reason.
Shouldn't they have a more strict governmental structure since they're less of a warrior culture and more of a military one? But also there's warlords who are constantly fighting? Aren't you just depleting your army? How are you both a standing army but also just groups of warbands.
I'm genuinely asking, some of this might have been answered in ACOSF but as a OG Nesta girlie I can't read that
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xenafay · 14 days
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Cassian 🦇Non cropped 🌶 version on Twitter.
The full resolution will be available on my Patreon this month after its launch!
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acotar-thirst · 2 months
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Learning how to hide the overprotective side
Azriel x reader (1301 words)
Summary: Azriel allows himself to watch you at the sparring area with Cassian, until you get hurt and he has to control and hide the instincts that take over him when he sees his mate in pain, even if it was nothing serious. You still don’t know about the bond. 
Warnings: Small wrist injury, anxiety of keeping a secret
A/N: Had this idea a few nights later, finally managed to write it the way I was imagining. Probably gonna turn this into a fic, because ‘in love Azriel’ is never too much, right? 
Let me know your thoughts about this, it’s really important to me. Thank you for reading!
Requests open
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    Azriel suppressed a smile as he landed in the training area and saw (Y/N) cursing at Cassian as the two fought. The brother was the best warrior he had ever seen in his life, the female was making the general sweat and give his everything to defend himself.
    The Spymaster crossed his arms and admired the scene in front of him. His shadows moved with agitation, trying to break free of his control to go to where (Y/N) was. Azriel was increasingly prepared to face their defiance when the female was around.
    Taking advantage of the fact that no one else was around and only the two of them fought, not paying attention to him at all, Azriel allowed himself to admire (Y/N). Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail on top of her head and sweat was all over her body.
    (Y/N)'s gaze looked wild, it always looked that way when she was fighting. Strong thighs and arms blocked Cassian's blows and then attacked, giving the male no time to adapt to the way she fought.
    A laugh rippled from deep in Azriel's chest and rumbled through the training area as (Y/N)'s sword slammed sideways into Cassian's rib, causing him to groan loudly in pain. The Shadowsinger just couldn't get his mind off how amazing this female was.
    As if sensing he was thinking about her, (Y/N) looked at him as soon as she heard his laughter. Her cheeks turned red as she noticed him watching them from outside the ring.
    Her gaze lasted a second though, the distraction was enough to give Cassian the upper hand. Without a shred of regret, the general swung around and swung his sword which (Y/N) narrowly defended himself.
    Her sword fell to the ground as it collided with Cassian's, the moviment hard enough for her to withdraw her hand to her chest and groan in pain. Azriel's shadows reached her faster than his brother.
    A fierce rage swept over the Spymaster, his hands clasped at his sides with clenched fists as he charged toward (Y/N), making him use his shadows to hide his shaking arms. Azriel glared at his brother trying to control the instinctive rage that was burning inside of him. It was his laugh that distracted her, he knew, but he still wanted to punch Cassian’s nose.
    “Well, (Y/N), I’m sorry, but next time remember to not look at the pretty male while sparring”.
    "Get the fuck out of here, Cassian."
    Azriel's voice was cold as ice, cutting the humor from his brother's face. Ignoring Cassian's meaningful gaze, the Shadowsinger took the hand that (Y/N) was still cradling her chest.
    She looked up at him, her expression showing pain but weaker than before. With the other hand, (Y/N) wiped the sweat from her forehead and looked at Cassian as he walked away.
    "It's ok, I just got the wrong angle".
    He muttered in agreement, still examining her fingers and wrist movement. When she moaned low in pain, Azriel glared at his brother again. Cassian was standing near the exit, drinking water.
    “When are you gonna tell her?” was the expression on the general's face, looking at his brother and (Y/N) with irony. Azriel rolled his eyes at him and returned his attention to the female in front of him.
    Trying to control his feelings, Azriel continued to massage her forearm. The approach between them always made him nervous, his entire concentration focused on not showing what he truly felt.
    He'd been trying to stay away from (Y/N) for months, ever since the mate connection snapped inside his chest. When he understood that only he had felt it, he tried his best to give her space so she wouldn't feel suffocated.
    “Thank you, Az. It's already better.”
    Her voice was shy and he smiled at her. One of the shadows climbed to her head, tangled itself in (Y/N)'s hair and then caressed her face. The female grinned and looked gratefully at Azriel.
    “How was the meeting last night?”
    He broke eye contact, not trusting himself and clearing his throat before asking the first thing he could think of. (Y/N) took a deep breath as she picked up the training sword from the ground and set it in place.
    “The usual, you know Keir is a little bitch”.
    "He really is".
    There was humor on her face when he agreed with her, which served to ease the tightness in his chest that she had visited the Court of Nightmares without him around. Azriel went to the table with the water bottles, Cassian already gone, and poured two cups, handing one to her.
    It had taken all the strength he had not to go after her at the meeting with Keir and the snakes in that part of the Night Court. Just the assurance that Rhysand and Feyre would be by (Y/N)'s side made Azriel stay on Velaris, trying his best to occupy the mind that begged to be close to the female.
    (Y/N) looked up at the sky, savoring the touch of the sun on her face. Her cheeks were still pink, as they always were when he was around. He took the opportunity to absorb every detail of her again.
    The leather of her robes showed the curvature of her body, years and years of training that made her one of the best warriors he had ever seen. Before the bond even settled in Azriel's chest, (Y/N) had all of his heart, even though he was too stupid to notice. The Shadowsinger spent a lot of time chasing after Elain to really understand that it was the newbie who actually put real feelings inside of him, far beyond physical arousal.
    She remained completely ignorant of his feelings or the bond of souls they shared, but Azriel told himself he was in no hurry. He had waited for her his whole life, and seeing her there, enjoying the warmth of the still shy spring sun, he knew it would be worth it.
His gaze traveled all over her, as if he needed that to remind himself later, when he would be alone and he had to practically lock himself in his own room so he wouldn't chase after her. (Y/N)'s wrist was slightly swollen and this woke Azriel from his own thoughts and desires.
    “You should see Madja, get her to examine your wrist”.
    A smile grew on her face, then she looked at Azriel. His heart beat fast inside his chest whenever she looked at him like that… as if she could see the deepest parts of his dirty soul.
    “That's not necessary, Azriel. Really”.
    She added the last word when she saw that he would insist. (Y/N) put the cup down on the table, approaching him for that and making his hands shake with need to touch her.
    “It could heal wrong and…”
    “Azriel…”
The Shadowsinger sighed. The idea of ​​picking her up and flying to Madja was growing in his mind, but he controlled himself at the warning tone in her voice when she said his name… Something flashed in response inside him.
    "You really shouldn't worry, I'm okay". She said, flicking her wrist in front of him as if to prove the fact. “Plus, I’m kicking Cass’s ass in revenge tomorrow”.
    Laughter lit up (Y/N)'s face, as if that thought really brought her joy. Before he could control it, he smiled. The female winked at him and waved, saying goodbye and stepping inside the house.
    “That makes two of us”.
    He said softly when he was sure (Y/N) wouldn't hear. Cassian would regret hurting her at their training session later.
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With Me, Always. (Oneshot)
Rhysand x Reader
Hiiii. I've had many requests about writing for Rhys - and while I am gradually working on the more detailed ones, and working on my Lucien series, I thought I'd post this sweet lil oneshot I wrote.
Warnings: None. It's just angst and fluff.
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The Windhaven Camp was ready for the Winter Solstice.
As much as such a soulless place could be ready for the celebration, anyway. There was something darkly poetic about garlands and wreaths and sprigs of holly and ivy being hung on buildings that you knew housed awful people. Awful things.
Only three days left to go. If nothing else, the males were in decidedly brighter spirits — meaning there weren’t quite so many sneers, as usual, while you strolled through the camp. It had become a hive of even more activity than normal, with people flying family members in for the celebrations, and the few shops and businesses there were staying open later and later to accommodate last-minute gift buying.
If nothing else, the hectic atmosphere meant that none of the males seemed to glimpse you and your friend, Ivanna, sneaking further into the hills and mountain range for your clandestine work-out sessions.
“You’d think,” Ivanna panted, stopping to lean against a tree, “that considering we’ve grown up here and never left the damn place, we’d be a bit more used to the cold.”
You snorted, tipping your head back and heaving your heavy breaths skywards. Indeed, it seemed the air was teasing a snowstorm — your wings could feel it; a freezing caress that made you long for the roaring fire of Ivanna’s small home. Your small home.
It was almost two years, now, that you’d been living with Ivanna and her father above his shop — a courtesy he’d hesitantly agreed to, only because your own late father had been a friend of his. But as an Illyrian female with no family left — and sparse assets left behind by your father — your best option had been taking refuge in your closest friend’s home. Shacking up with the only three Illyrian males you were friends with — Rhysand, Cassian and Azriel — would have raised too many eyebrows. And so her father had reluctantly taken you in.
Your gratitude for that generosity was about as far as any pleasantries with him went; one look at the ruined remains of her clipped wings was reminder enough of what a bastard he was. Unlike your own father, who had been a very rare breed of Illyrian male — a kind one.
“Shall we walk back,” You said once you’d caught your breath, “or should I fly us?”
“Ugh. Fly.” Ivanna grimaced. “I don’t feel like having frostbite for Solstice. Speaking of which — what have you bought me?”
You rolled your eyes, your lips twitching as you scooped her up into your arms. “Stop asking. I’m not telling you what I’ve bought you.”
“Rude.” She didn’t even jolt as you launched into the skies, your wings beating against the wind. “I have another question.”
“Of course you do.”
A flash of a wicked grin. “Have you heard from Rhysand?”
The humour eddied from you, leaving nothing but emptiness in its wake. The subject was a sore one — one you tried not to broach, if you could help it.
“Since the last time you asked that very question?” You shrugged tersely. “You know I haven’t.”
No, you hadn’t seen Rhys, or heard from him, for months and months, now. The male, who had once been the only light you had in this dark place, seemed to have forgotten your entire existence since becoming High Lord. It was…lonely. Painful. You knew how busy he must be — and grieving the loss of his mother and sister, too. But he’d never shut you out before, never pushed you away. That he’d not even been back to visit, to say hello…it hurt. And the best you could do was pretend that it didn’t.
Ivanna offered you a gentle squeeze as you swooped down into the camp, landing on the path that cut through the training rings. They were mostly empty, with most males having already started their Solstice break, but your stomach plummeted a bit as two dark, towering figures turned into your path.
Edric and Cenric were two males — twins — who you’d had the displeasure of growing up around. Illyrian brutes through and through, they got off on the torment of females — the torment of you and Ivanna, in particular. It had died down a little when you’d become close to Rhys, Cassian and Azriel — but with them so absent these days, it had ratcheted right back up.
“There you both are.” The one on the left — Edric — smirked. “There’s been a spillage in one of the tents. Ale all over the place.”
You rolled your eyes, tugging Ivanna past them. “Guess you’d better find yourselves a mop and bucket, then.”
The twins were quick to dart into your path. It was Cenric who folded his arms, puffing his chest out. “That’s your job. All you females are good for.”
Your head fell into a tilt. “Is that why you opt for rutting against a pillow instead of finding an actual, living being to stick that poor excuse of a cock into? I suppose that vile mouth doesn’t win many females over.”
Both twins’ eyes flashed with rage, with challenge. Edric stepped towards you, his towering height and flared wings seeming to swallow up the lingering daylight.
“Go mop up the mess,” He hissed through gritted teeth, “before I shove you to the floor and make you lick it up.”
You opened your mouth to retort — and promptly snapped it shut at another flash of darkness. Like a cloud of pure midnight pluming behind the twins, the empty path was suddenly shrouded in a mass of smoky black that cleaved in two.
As Rhysand appeared.
“Hello, you two.” The High Lord greeted the twins, his smirk mocking. “How lovely to see you both.”
The two males had the good sense to back down — even if they did so reluctantly. But with Rhys so newly in power, a whole host of adjustments was rippling through the camp. Nobody wanted to get on the High Lord’s bad side — having not quite discerned, yet, what kind of High Lord he was going to be — lest he remember it for years to come.
So both twins dipped their heads and ground out, “High Lord” in unison.
“I see the two of you are still your delightful selves.” Rhys studied them. “Do me a favour, boys — fuck off.”
There was absolutely no hesitation as the twins dipped past the High Lord, not sparing a glance back. Not until Rhys called out to them once more.
“Find a camp mother and ask for a mop and bucket.” He ordered. “Clean your filthy mess up yourselves.”
Edric seemed to pause; seemed to contemplate barking back at him. But it was Cenric who had the sense to pull him away. They quickly disappeared out of sight, their bickering fading with them.
And then Rhys turned back to you. The smirk softly moulded into a smile. “Hello, you.”
Both you and Ivanna bowed your heads. It felt weird — saying the words. “High Lord.”
Rhys snorted. “What’s with the formalities?”
Ivanna relaxed beside you, lifting her chin. But you…you kept your gaze on the ground; didn’t think you could bear looking at him for too long. It would bring too many things to the surface.
Namely, that one, single night of passion you’d shared with him before things had changed so fast, and he was suddenly High Lord of the Night Court. That very night liked to remind you of itself every day. And even more thoroughly, now, with the person in front of you who shared that memory. You begged — begged — your cheeks not to heat beneath his intense gaze.
“How are you, Ivanna?” Rhys politely regarded your friend. “You’re looking well.”
Ivanna inclined her chin. “As are you, High Lord. I’m very well, thank you.”
“Glad to hear it.” His eyes slid to you again. You could practically feel them coaxing you, begging you to look up.
Ivanna cleared her throat. “I actually just remembered — I have to do some stuff. And things.”
That had you looking up — quickly, abruptly, pleading with Ivanna not to leave you alone with him. But she was already clapping you on the shoulder and striding ahead.
“Enjoy your stuff and things.” You shouted after her, huffing.
A middle finger was her only answer.
In front of you, Rhys chuckled. “I forgot how much you two bicker.”
You flicked your gaze to his. Just momentarily — just enough to convey that you didn’t feel like standing and talking.
“Mm.” You murmured, brushing past him. “I suppose it’s easy to forget such things when you never come around anymore.”
You’d barely taken a step forward before he was jumping into your path. Gently grabbing your hand. The warmth of his thick glove was pleasant against your bare, frozen fingers.
“Wait.” He said. “I—how are you?”
“Oh, I’m great, Rhys, thanks so much for asking.”
“…I’m sensing some anger.”
You pulled your hand away. Used it to pinch the bridge of your nose between your thumb and forefinger. “What brings you to Windhaven, Rhysand?”
“Well, it’s common courtesy for the High Lord to deliver well wishes at Solstice—”
You scoffed, launching into a walk once more. But Rhys was quicker, darting right back into your way.
“And I wanted to see you.” He said. “Please—let’s just go inside and talk.”
You stared at him. So many things you wanted to say. So many ways he’d made you feel. And yet you hated that very fact. That it had become unavoidably clear, and there was no escaping it.
You loved him. You were in love with him.
“Come on.” He said, his eyes flickering your shivering form. “At least come and warm up.”
The cold was beginning to become painful, your wings aching with the chill. You could ignore Rhys, go straight back to Ivanna’s house, but…you had a feeling she’d turn you away. Tell you to hear him out.
So you nodded — folded your arms, just so he couldn’t grab your hand again. “Fine. Lead the way.”
You didn’t know where he planned to take you. His mother’s cottage was the most logical place, but…maybe it was too soon, too raw—
“The fire’s already burning in my mother’s place.” He said, as though he’d read your thoughts. “Where are your gloves?”
Your eyes stayed pinned forward as you strolled beside him. “I forgot them today.”
Within seconds, he was pulling the thick gloves from his hands. “Here.”
“We’re almost at the cottage—”
“Put them on or I’ll do it for you.”
You scowled, snatching the gloves away and shoving them on. Their size wolfed your hands, but their pleasant warmth was such a relief, you almost moaned.
Rhys had always been a mother hen. Always behaved like this around you. Even when he was at his limit, stressed beyond comprehension, he’d looked after you.
And then it had all just…stopped. You’d tried to be understanding. Tried to have compassion for the fact that he’d become High Lord very suddenly, much sooner than he’d anticipated. That he was grieving on top of that. And if he’d needed space, you would have happily given it to him…
But to not even just…send a quick word, to tell you he was alright. To know that you were stuck in this awful place, worrying about him, thinking about him…
He probably didn’t even realise how much it hurt. How much you missed your friendship above all else.
His mother’s cottage loomed, sad and empty looking. It had squeezed your heart every time you passed it, to think of the female that had been so kind to you over the years, just — gone. The friend you’d once found in Rhys’s sister, a young girl of such potential — gone.
And then Rhys, just — gone.
He opened the front door, stepping aside to allow you to enter first. Indeed, the fire was roaring heat into the room, and you hurried towards it embarrassingly fast, your hands outstretched to its warmth.
Rhys chuckled softly, shutting the door behind him. “There’s a snowstorm coming. I can feel it in the air.”
You merely nodded — knew full well that he hadn’t brought you here to talk about the weather. As you leaned against the mantelpiece, embracing the power of the flames before you, you allowed your eyes to wander the small room.
It was just as it was when you were last here, months and months ago, now. You’d lost count of how many. The cramped area was crammed full with the echoes of the past, memories from long ago, and…some—some more recent.
Your eyes shot to the worn, shabby couch — your mind darting straight to the last night you’d been here. The night that, after so many years of close friendship, of subtle touches and glances, of meaningless flirting…one thing had finally led to another. You couldn’t remember what conversation, exactly, had led to you and Rhys kissing. How, exactly, you’d ended up on your knees before him, his rough groans filling the cottage as you’d sucked and licked him and brought him to a roaring release.
He’d had to leave for business the next morning. Within days…everything had changed.
Rhys was staring at that exact spot on the sofa, too. Probably reliving that night just as colourfully.
You felt a little petty as you bit out, “Have you brought me here to suck your cock again?”
His eyes flickered to yours, the swimming violet softening. “Of course not. Is that what you think?”
You shrugged. “I don’t really know what to think anymore, Rhys. It’s not like you’ve given me anything to go on.”
His eyes shuttered. Slowly, he moved to the rolled arm of the couch, perching atop it. No wings in sight, now.
“First and foremost,” He said. “I just want to know how you are.”
“I’m fine.”
“I don’t believe you.”
Your eyes glazed over as you forced them to stay on one, insignificant rip in the sofa. Anything to avoid meeting those eyes.
“Why?” You asked flatly.
“Because I know you.” Rhys shrugged. “I know when you’re not fine. Not to mention the fact that you can’t even look at me.”
Your hands tightened into fists. You hated how right he was — that he did know you. That he probably knew every thought currently swimming through your head. That he probably wouldn’t stop pushing until you spilled the truth.
You were mentally willing yourself not to cry as you forced your gaze to him and shrugged weakly. “Alright.” You relented. “I’m not fine. I cannot possibly be fine when I miss you, and I think about you every damn day, and I don’t know what to do about it.”
“…Y/N—”
“And believe me, Rhys, I know you’ve had a lot to contend with. A lot on your shoulders. And if you need to deal with that stuff on your own, that’s fine…but I’m so fucking scared that you pushed me away because of what happened between us that night. Because you didn’t mean for it to happen, but it did, and it might have damaged our friendship beyond repair. I cannot bear that thought because all I care about is having you in my life, even if you can never love me the way—”
You cut yourself off — blinked out of your thoughts, stunned by how freely you’d allowed your words to run. Your cheeks heated as you quickly wiped the tears forming in your eyes. But you knew it was too late — that you’d said too much.
Rhys stared at you. “The way what?”
You closed your eyes, tears spilling over. “Even if you can never love me the way I…the way I love you. I don’t care, Rhys — I just want you back in my life. That’s all that matters to me—”
“I’ve been in love with you since we were teenagers, and you put me in my place for being a prick.”
You stopped, your eyes flying open. You went so, so still.
“I fell in love with you that day.” He stared back at you seriously — vulnerably. “And I have only fallen for you harder and harder every day since. I have been utterly consumed by you since we were eighteen years old. And I love it. I love you.”
“…what…” You breathed. “I…why did you push me away?”
He shook his head. Swallowed, hard. “Everything happened so damn fast. My mother, my sister…becoming High Lord. With my father dying, I knew there would be unrest…dissenters, people who held grudges against my father and would use me as a scapegoat to exact revenge. I needed to be in Velaris…to protect my people. And I wanted to come back, to see you, but…” He released a slow, heavy breath. “The target that has always been on my back is even bigger, now. Tamlin’s family killed the people closest to me. And if people knew what you meant to me…if they knew that I love you…I would be putting a target on your back as well. And that isn’t fair.”
Another tear rolled down your cheek. All these months of wondering…of thinking you’d fucked things up completely. You hadn’t even considered that Rhys was trying to protect you.
“It is for me to decide, Rhysand,” You said quietly, wiping your cheeks, “if I can live with a target on my back. That choice is mine.”
“I know that.” He whispered. “Believe me, I know. But I just…if I lost you too…”
You pushed away from the mantelpiece. Stalked over to him, until you were stood mere inches from him, your legs touching.
“Isn’t it better to take that risk…to live,” You said, “than this alternative? Than us being away from each other? I’m miserable without you.”
“As I am without you.” He met your gaze. “And that is why I came today. Because I can’t take it anymore. I love you, and I want you with me. I want you to come to Velaris.”
You blinked at him — balked. You’d never even been anywhere outside of Windhaven, never dared to push those limits and face potential consequences.
“I…” You stared into those violet eyes, stunned. “…this is my home…”
“In the loosest definition, yes.” Rhys slowly reached out a hand. Slowly brushed his fingers against yours. “But you don’t even have a home of your own here. You don’t have anything of your own here. You should be living, Y/N. Ivanna, too.”
If you were honest…Ivanna was the only thing keeping you there. The thought of leaving her behind, alone with the males…you couldn’t bear it.
But if she could come to Velaris, too. If you could have both Ivanna and Rhys…a life…
You frowned. “What would I do there?”
Rhys shrugged, properly grabbing your hand. “Whatever you want to do. I could find you a position in the court, or…or something, anything else. As long as you're happy. As long as I get to have you with me. Always.”
You studied him. The wonderful, selfless male before you — who you loved so, so intensely. You should have known, all this time, that he’d only pushed you away to protect you. That Rhys would never have left you without reason.
The relief almost had you succumbing to tears all over again.
“Take some time to think it over.” He lifted his other hand to your cheek, his thumb grazing beneath your eye. “No pressure. Just…promise me you’ll put yourself first.”
You snorted, wiping your eyes. “Says the male who puts literally everybody before himself.”
He smirked softly. “Guilty. But I’m always going to do that. Because I love you.”
Your heart guttered. Words you’d wanted to hear for so many years…they didn’t seem real, now.
You swallowed down another onslaught of emotion. “You really mean it?”
“More than I’ve ever meant anything.”
You swallowed. And before you could allow your tears to grip you again, you leaned forward. Pressed your lips against his.
The kiss was…sweet. Not the hungry, passionate kisses you’d shared that one night all those months ago. But a tender kiss that spoke of promise, of a future, of love.
Rhys kissed you back, deeply and slowly, tangling his fingers within your hair. He tugged you closer, slotting you between his legs.
And only when you were both gasping for breath, your chests heaving, did he pull back. Pressed his forehead against yours.
“I love you.” He breathed, his eyes boring into yours.
You pecked him — once, twice. “I love you, too.”
“Well, that’s a relief.” He smirked. “And not only do I love you, but I believe I owe you.”
“…oh?”
“Hmm. If I remember correctly, the last time we were in this cottage, you had your head between my legs. It seems only fair that I return the favour.”
You felt heat pool inside you. Felt your toes curl in your boots. And you knew, from the way Rhys’s nostrils flared, his pupils dilating, that he immediately noticed the change in your scent.
“You’d better return that favour, then.” You bit down on your lip. “It is Solstice, after all.”
“It would be my pleasure.”
He grasped the back of your head, pulling your face back to his. And every part of you sang and shattered beautifully as he laid you down on the sofa.
And fell to his knees before you.
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