Hiya, guys! I have been nearly dormant when it comes to fanfiction, so here’s a little oneshot for you beauties! Prompt: Aelin has a stressful day. *******************************************
Rowan Whitethorn Galathynius didn’t glance up from his book as the door to their chambers swung wide, the oak of the door smacking hard off the wall. Smirking towards the fire, he murmured, “Bad day, Princess?” His only answer was a loud groan and the slamming of the door. “If I ever see another snowflake again, I shall kill someone,” Aelin seethed. Rowan turned in his seat and bit back a thunderous laugh. Aelin was covered head to toe in snow, her hair plastered to her head, her deep blue gown soaked. “One gods-damned sound, Rowan Whitethorn, and you’re finding another bed to sleep in.” Rowan saw the venomous glare in her eyes and the stress lining her body, and reined in his laugh.
“I’m sorry, love,” he said as he stood, sliding a spare bit of parchment into his book before tossing it down. Aelin frowned and swore colorfully as a large glob of melting snow sloughed off of her. Suppressing another laugh, he crossed the room, stretching out his hands, “Let’s get you out of that dress.” Aelin heaved a sigh, then shivered violently, and Rowan closed the distance between them. Aelin looked at him gratefully, and turned. Brushing the dripping wet hair from her neck, Rowan silently began to unlace her tight gown. The strings were stiff, and Aelin was still shivering, despite the warmth of the room. After a few moments of silence, Rowan probed, “What happened?” Aelin let out a long-suffering sigh, and craned her neck to look at him. “I was talking to Yrene about the apprentices when one of the page boys came up to me, practically bleating like a lamb. He started rambling off nonsense about a stable hand and fighting and something else, so I went down to the stables,” she paused to help him shove off the gown, then turned to face him, her shift sticking to her skin. “It was simple really, two of the stable hands had had a row, the just scuffed each other up, really. I told them that if it happened again they’d be out on their ass.” She glanced down at herself and shivered again, “Why they asked me and not the damned Captain of the Guard, I don’t know, but anyhow, when I was walking back, I slipped.” Rowan glanced down at her again, assessing the amount of snow covering her, and her thorough soaking. “Exactly how many times did you slip?”
Aelin snarled, and began stomping away her boots squelching grossly as she made her way to the bathing room, her magic lighting the few candles around the large stone tub. When Rowan heard the gurgle of water, he chuckled softly and followed her in. She was already tugging awkwardly at the laces of her corset, and when he leaned against the doorpost, an amused grin playing at his lips, she snarled again. “Wipe that look of your face and help me.” Rowan chuckled again, and gestured for her to turn, slowly beginning to ease the corset’s tight strings apart. Why females wore these torture devices, he didn’t know. When he had finished, Aelin let out a deep sigh, pulling it off with a groan. She turned to him and closed her eyes, reaching up a freezing hand to cup his cheek as she laid her sodden head on his chest. Rowan reached an arm around her waist, breathing her in. The stress lining her body began to ease, but he could tell something beside the whole “Slipping Incident” was on her mind. “What’s on your mind, love?” He murmured against her hair. “Sleep. Tax on the nobles.” A little sigh. “What Lord Bryceon and the other lords said during our lunch today.” Rowan felt himself tense. Lord Bryceon was a conniving little prick. Most of the other lords were semi-amiable. But really, there were no other ways to describe him.
Rowan had dealt with him enough to know that this was a fact. The man had always made Aelin uncomfortable, and he’d tried with all his might to be able to join her luncheon, but his duties had called him elsewhere. “What did he say, Fireheart?” Aelin didn’t answer him. Instead she pulled away, her clever fingers finding the buttons of his shirt and popping them open one by one. Aelin kept her eyes on Rowan’s as she finished with the buttons, running a hand up the plane of his muscled torso before shoving off the pale blue cotton. “Please— Just hold on,” she murmured. Rowan furrowed his brow, but said nothing, only nodding. And maybe it made her a selfish, weak, bitch, but she stood on her tiptoes, brushing her mouth against his. “Join me, Ro’.” Rowan hummed and nodded against her. “I will, but you are going to tell me what is wrong.” She knew she needed to, but gods, she didn’t want to tell him. She nodded silently, and turned away from him, stripping off her breast band and undergarments. She felt Rowan’s heavy gaze on her as she stepped into the swirling hot water. As she sunk into the water, she heard Rowan’s belt hit the floor, then felt as Rowan stepped in. She watched as he sunk into the water, those eyes of his boring into her. Aelin shifted her eyes away and plucked a vial of bath salt off the edge of the tub, dumping it in. As it swirled into the water, she glanced back to Rowan. “Come here,” he said into the quiet. Keeping her eyes on his, she turned off the faucet, and practically swum across the large tub. Rowan lifted an arm, allowing her to tuck herself into his side. An easy silence seeped into the candle-lit room, the strong scent of the lavender salts rising to her senses, the steady beat of Rowan’s heart calming under her ear nearly lulling her to sleep, Rowan’s calloused hand drawing slow circles on her shoulder… It was calm, lovely, a romantic evening they hadn’t had in months, but the memory of today’s events kept replaying in her mind. Heaving a sigh, Aelin angled her head to look at Rowan. He was resting his head back on the tub’s lip, his neck and chest glistening with water, those eyes closed… “Rowan?” She breathed, and he cracked open an eye. “Yes, love?” She glanced down at the water, the opaque water swirling as she pulled away from him and his warmth. “They want me to see a healer.” There it was. Rowan straightened slowly, taking his time before responding. “Why?” The word was a growl, low and deep, and she squeezed her eyes shut. “Because, I- I haven’t produced an heir yet, and they want to make sure I am able to bear. “For the good of Terrasen,” they said.” Rowan’s face tightened, but Aelin went on. “I tried telling them that it would take time, I only stopped using contraception a year ago, and with my Fae blood, but they—,” she paused, and glanced down at her bare breasts. Faint scars from battles and terrors long since passed lingered there. “They said that a queen should be able to have children. They said that I was just trying to keep the kingdom for myself.” It was all bullshit. Utter bullshit, but it seemed males liked to think they knew all about a woman’s body. Rowan looked as murderous as she felt. “They had no right to say any of those things.” He growled, and Aelin nodded. “I know they can’t force me to have children, and I know it is my body, but I just feel so selfish when I say I’m not ready. I want children—gods do I want children— but not now, Ro’. It just seems too soon.”
It had only been two years since the War. Two years, since she had died, only to be reborn. And she still awoke, screaming in terror, searching blindly in the dark for Rowan. He too, was still haunted by the events of those years, starting awake in the dead of night, gasps wrenching their way from his throat. And there were still bad days; days when she awoke, the hands of Cairn and Maeve tugging at her very soul. And gods damn her, but she didn’t want to have to explain to her child why they couldn’t sneak up on Uncle Aedion, or why their Mommy and Daddy had so any scars. Rowan slid his arm around her waist, not saying a word as he eased them back against the tub.
“I don’t care if we never have children, Aelin, and I know your reasoning. And if those insensitive old pricks can’t get it through their thick skulls that we aren’t ready for children, that it is too soon, they’ll just have to deal with it.” Aelin laughed slightly, and kissed his chest. She wasn’t selfish for wanting to wait, she knew it. She was still young, she had thousands of years ahead of her, thousands of them to fill with children and laughter and families, but for now… Now she was content to sit in the bath, in the arms of Rowan. Just breathing. Just loving. Just healing.