A Fine Line
@rhysand-darling based on her post requesting that someone, anyone write a post acowar fanfic where Feyre and Tamlin talk. He apologizes to her and all this stuff. I hope that it meets a few of your needs.
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He was ashamed to admit that it took him a better part of a decade to stop being angry with her. One night and many bottles of wine later, his ever loyal sentry Bron had shared with him what those few years were like. In the haze of his intoxication he remembered something his mother once told him. Hate and love were a fine line, you chose which side of the line your heart resides. The next morning he went to her old room, he expected the thorns, what he did not expect were the paintings.
He knew deep down that she did not paint these before or during the war. Five paintings sat as roses amongst the thorns.
An enchanted willow tree. Lucien laughing while sitting on a blanket with a bottle of wine. A pool of stars. Two beings dancing to the song of will-o’-the-wisps. A beautiful male playing the fiddle. No, not a nameless beautiful male, him. Not the monster he saw in the mirror, had seen for decades, centuries. The memories came cascading down upon his soul and that is when he cracked. He fell to his knees, he did this, he had chosen hate. Even before her, he let the monster within rule his life.
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Every solstice after he found those paintings, he told himself that he would talk with Feyre. Every year he said he would apologize. And every year he made up an excuse not to reach out to her. In the end he always told himself that he was the one that needed closure, not her. She was happy.
She had no idea that he had moved the paintings to various places around the manor. They helped remind him that he was not his father, he was not the beast that prowled beneath his skin. The paintings reminded him that he had a musician’s soul.
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It had taken decades, but his court and his soul were healing from his father’s reign, a reign he had allowed to continue in the name of tradition. Since the day he leashed the beast, each tradition was evaluated for what it brought to his people, to his court. He was about to cancel the upcoming centenary Jubilee, another pointless tradition of the Spring Court, when his advisers told him that the people needed a celebration. More importantly the Jubilee was a chance for other courts to visit.
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The night of the Jubilee ball came, as he descended the stairs his breath caught. She was still the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. Her gold brown hair cascaded down her back in waves. She wore a fitting dress of midnight blue that complimented her skin tone and her tattoos.
Her attention was on the painting he had hung in the foyer, her painting of two souls dancing to the song of will-o’-the-wisps.
“I was wondering if you ever found them.”
He swallowed the knot forming in his throat, “I found them a decade after the war. Thank you.”
It had been too long since her voice echoed off the walls of this manor, “I was so angry with you. I felt like I had given everything for our love and you never saw it. Never valued what I gave.”
He couldn’t look into the eyes of the girl he had abused, he instead looked at his toes, “you had every right to be angry with me. You gave your life for me, for this court, for Prythian. I repaid you by locking you within this manor, letting the grief and despair eat you alive. I did not see you and I will always regret that I didn’t find a way to help you. That is why I hung this painting here, as a reminder.”
He finally looked up and saw silver lining her blue-grey eyes. He only then realized that they had both needed this. They both needed closure. And for all the things he had never given her, the one thing he could give her was closure.
“When I came back I wanted to burn this place to the ground for what you had done to me, for taking me away from my mate and my family. I am sorry for the part I played, for the destruction I caused.”
He nodded, “I was angry at you for a long time for that, but you have nothing to apologize for.”
She looked at him, and for a briefest moment he saw the shock at his words.
“During that month, you gave me choices. If I would have chosen my sentries over a high priestess, my court would not have fallen as easily as it did. If I would have choose to listen to Lucien instead of Ianthe,” he spit out her name with a level of venom that had not passed his lips in decades, “my court would not have been starving.”
He took a deep breath, “I made many bad choices, the moment I made that deal with Hybern, I should have evacuated most of my court, instead of letting countless souls die at the hand of that monster. After I received your letter, instead of running to Hybern, I could have requested a meeting with you. After Lucien came back from the Illyrian steppes and said that you were healthy and you made the choice to stay, I could have listened to him.”
They looked at each other for what felt like an eternity. Each of them trying to silently convey everything that they had ever felt for one another, happiness, love, regret, loss, anger, forgiveness.
“I’m sorry. I am sorry for every painful moment you felt because of me, either from my inaction or from my actions. No matter what I did, it always seemed to hurt you and that will always be one of my greatest regrets in this life.”
Her hand reached up to caress his cheek, “There will always be a part of me that loves you and I will always be grateful for what you have given me.”
“Thank you, Feyre,” he swallowed the sob that wanted to leave his throat, “thank you for seeing the male behind the beast and loving me.”
She didn’t need to hear that there would always be a part of him that loved her as well. He leaned down and kissed her forehead, a silent goodbye to the girl he loved. With a smile, he left her in the foyer.
Before he entered the ballroom he turned around for one last look at the girl who changed him. In that moment he knew the monster that had once ruled his heart was gone. Instead of feeling jealousy and anger, he felt awed by the sight before him of the High Lady and High Lord of the Night Court.
He knew there would be another time for the apology that he owed to a male that had given him friendship when no one else had. He would need to tell him a story and beg his forgiveness for his inaction.