Royalty AU 2/5 (Kanej)


  • Inej catches the eye of the count her fellow debutantes so gossiped about, surveying her critically over his champagne glass in the top box
  • a bubble of laughter takes her attention away for a second and she almost smiles when she sees some of the girls running with their newfound gentlemen for the next dance 
  • almost
  • when she turns her head back to the box, Count Brekker has vanished
  • and then - like a magic trick - a gravelly voice suddenly states behind her, “Dance with me.”
  • Inej doesn’t turn, only straightens her shoulders
  • “I’m not used to being addressed like that to someone I’ve just noticed on a balcony.”
  • “Be as that may, if you should refuse, I’ll retire early from this gaggle and travel home.”
  • Inej purses her lips and considers the wrath of Dunyasha if the count she sought was nowhere in her sights after only the first hour of the ball 
  • She turns on her heel, sweeping out her hands wordlessly and Kaz takes them in his dark gloves 
  • they whirl across the dance floor with a fluidity that’s almost sinful 
  • he leads and then she leads, and she gets out a small laugh at how she’s actually enjoying herself
  • but the laugh is cut short when the Count suddenly grabs her by the waist and picks her up, spinning her around above his head 
  • Inej is thoroughly disoriented so when Kaz lowers her, her face is only mere centimeters away from his and she doesn’t have the sense to pull away 
  • for a moment, both of them look at each other to discern the other’s emotions in their gaze 
  • and then they both draw away and continue to dance 
  • the dance they’re doing is complicated but the difficult part is the hand motions
  • Inej makes her hands twist and turn until they make way back to the count’s waiting hands
  • waiting ungloved hands 
  • both pairs meet and twine, then draw away to meet again 
  • the Count raises one arm and spins her around, and she does the same to him 
  • and then each of them raise arms to brush against the others’, hands folding and unfolding like they’re trying to grasp the ghost of a hand just in their palms moments before 
  • the pattern continues as both Inej and Kaz spin around the dance floor, their arms brushing and their hands dance within each others’ reach only to pull away like they’re flirting with danger 
  • meanwhile Dunyasha constantly accepts the partners she dances with, but always keeps her eyes focused on the Count
  • who currently has eyes on for Inej and her hands twirling around his own
    and when the hands do meet, it’s like they can’t get enough of each other
    one pale hand of Kaz’s brushes across Inej’s open collarbone in its path
  • and Inej doesn’t shiver, doesn’t back away; she takes the hands and spins the Count around, continuing the dizzying pattern all over again
  • Dunyasha is growing irritated, and her partners can see the sweat on her forehead starting to bead through her pale makeup but don’t dare mention it 
  • and yet no perspiration shows on either Inej’s or Kaz’s forehead; they don’t even stop to catch a breath and seem unstoppable in their dance
  • people are starting to stare at the young girl in black spinning about and folding her arms this way and that with the leader of the Dregs
  • the music seems to crescendo and the whirling continues, and some of the guests now retire to their seats in flustered exhaustion
    but Inej and Kaz just keep going, oblivious to anyone in the room but themselves 
  • Dunyasha finally spins off to the side with a cry of frustration, panting and watching the chemistry increase between the couple 
  • Inej senses Dunyasha’s glare before she spots it, and as if she was burned, she quickly jerks her hands from Kaz’s own and hurries to the opposite corner of the room 
  • Kaz wants to call out to her, but then he’s met with Dunyasha again, dangerous and brilliant
  • so he steps forward to dance with the Princess again
  • and Inej watches the two of them dance with a sublime and terrible beauty, like something out a fairy tale 
  • Inej can feel more gazes landing on her and she quickly retreats to the nearest alcove to avoid the stares
  • and since she longer watches the dance floor, she fails to notice that Kaz’s hands now stay mostly in the air and dance around Dunyasha’s ivory fingers like they’re made of flame instead of drawing his hands nearer 

(Now watch this).