Enough - A Moriel Fic
(Not edited and maybe not even all that coherent this just sort of…happened and I went with them.)
For @cuddles-and-chocolate-cake (thank you!! this got a bit longer than a small dabble so I formatted it properly like this instead of just answering your ask!)
Summary: Prompt: Moriel + slowly. Projected towards the end of ACOWAR, the Second War is over and Mor and Azriel finally acted on their feelings. But Az still has some reservations over whether or not he’s ready to completely accept them.
Teaser: The Second War washed away that line between them, like footprints on a beach, until it was as though it had never been, as though it had always been nothing more than an impression printed on both of their souls, the ghost of their demons trembling before them. Fear and battle and the threat of losing each other, of losing everything had shattered the illusion like a thin pane of glass struck by a hurricane.
Five hundred years. Five hundred years they waited. Half a millennia they spent apart, their entire lives in limbo, watching, waiting, never daring to cross that line between them.
He would have waited another five centuries, another hundred immortal lifetimes for her and thanked the Cauldron for every second he was allowed to just be in her presence.
Now she’s told him that she feels the same way. That she waited. Waited for him. That she would have kept on waiting for him, for him to be ready, until her last breath if that had been what he had needed. Sometimes he still struggles to believe her. Sometimes he still wants to step back over to his side of the line where he still thinks he ought to be. But she gently holds his hand and keeps him by her side, always. And that is where he belongs.
The Second War washed away that line between them, like footprints on a beach, until it was as though it had never been, as though it had always been nothing more than an impression printed on both of their souls, the ghost of their demons trembling before them. Fear and battle and the threat of losing each other, of losing everything had shattered the illusion like a thin pane of glass struck by a hurricane.
He still does not know which of them moved first. Perhaps they moved together, as they always have, in dance or in battle, seamless, effortless, perfect. As though they were made for this, as though when the Cauldron forged them they were one; one being split into two but never forgetting where it came from, never forgetting what it ought to be.
All he knows is that one moment that barrier was between them, a rippling veil of uncertainty beyond which lay something neither of them dared look at for too long in all their years. And then it was gone. Gripped by two hands; one large, one small, one callused, one delicate, one scarred, one smooth, and together they tore it down.
Then his lips were on hers or her lips were on his but his fingers were in her hair and her hands were gripping his shirt and pulling him closer and…And he was kissing her. Her lips were parting for his tongue and her taste was filling his mouth and he was drowning in her. Azriel was no stranger to staring the waiting abyss in the eyes and denying it just once more. Death and he were old friends now, a friend he visited regularly, delivering others or himself it made little matter. But this.
When his lips met hers he knew he had never truly courted death at all. Death was not a dark, cold apparition like the shadows that flitted about his skin, his soul. Death was not a hooded male shrouded in lies and gleeful smiles for the souls he could claim. Death did not taste of sorrow and bitterness and frozen ashes, no.
Death was a lover. Death was a woman wrapped up in silks, gilded in sunshine and drenched in wonder. Death was warm and tender and gentle. Death tasted like the whiskey they had shared in his tent just before the call to arms was issued. Death smelled like citrus and cinnamon and cherry scented shampoo. Death was this moment, this kiss, rich and deep, that he had waited for for more than five centuries. Death was worth every second it had taken to claim him. Death was a love so deep he knew it would now be impossible to live without it, without her.
Azriel is still afraid, still so afraid of everything. That kiss seems to mark a break in time, there was before that moment and there is after that moment and it feels impossible to reconcile the two.
Before the kiss was safe, was structured, was known and familiar and comfortable. They had lived in that for five hundred years and it had been good. Not everything he wanted, not everything he secretly hoped for, not everything he had dreamed but…It had been enough. It was enough. His mantra for the five centuries they’d spent apart. Her mantra too, she had whispered to him one night as she lay curled in his arms. A position that felt, so right, yet his demons still hissed snidely was so wrong.
After the kiss is unknown, unpredictable, and wild. Like trying to fly through a storm he has no say in where the sky will carry him to, he can only flare his wings and pray it does not let him fall. It has not yet but if it does some day, he thinks, he will gladly tumble into that waiting void and there will be a smile on his lips. He thinks that means they did the right thing, no matter what comes next.
That does not stop him wanting to be careful. Always careful, always precise, and in this above all things…He wishes to handle her with care, with the tenderness and delicacy that she deserves. He wants to take his time and had quietly insisted they move slowly with this. The last thing he had ever wanted to do, and the thing he had been most afraid of, was doing something that she might later regretted.
It has been almost a month since that first kiss and though everything has changed, in some ways nothing has. He still hovers, still hesitates, still resists her and holds himself back from doing everything he wants. She sleeps in his bed, in his arms, her head pillowed against his shoulder as though this has always been the way it’s been. But still he insists that they wait. He wants her, Cauldron he wants her more than anything in this world but…He swore to himself that he would give her time, time to change her mind, time to leave, time to realise she deserves better…
Groaning, Azriel rolls his shoulder and flexes his wings, shaking out the stiffness that’s gathered in them. Meetings. In some ways, fighting in the war was preferable to sitting in all of these discussions listening to the High Lords and Ladies talk over one another as they debate politics. But he’s free now, free to seek her out.
Opening the door to his, their, chambers, he pads inside and freezes in the doorway, blinking. Mor stands just inside, obviously waiting for him, obviously just having stopped pacing up and down his usual path in front of the fire. She looks stunning, the dress she has on a deep, rippling cobalt, the same shade as the siphons he bears. She also looks nervous.
Shutting the door quietly behind him Azriel walks towards her, concern darkening his hazel eyes. “What is it? What’s wrong?” He asks softly, reaching out to her and instinctively tucking a lock of her thick, golden hair behind her ear so he can see her face. So odd, so odd not having to fight those instincts, so odd to be allowed to touch her this way, intimately, lovingly, the way he’s always wanted to.
She shakes her head, “Nothing’s wrong, Az,” she says, but her voice trembles slightly as she says it and he’s sure she’s not being honest with him. Before he can question her further however she stands on her toes, curling a hand behind his head, the tips of her fingers brushing the hair at the nape of his neck as she coaxes him down to kiss her.
Each one still ruins him in a way he never thought anyone could. He never expected to give anyone else this power over him, only her, and he never expected that she would ever wield it in this way. Her tongue brushes his and he melts for her, every mask cracking and crumbling to dust, every bit of armour sliding from him as though molten, pooling on the floor at her feet and leaving him bare before her.
Mor breaks the kiss between them but keeps his face cupped in her hand, her eyes searching his for something. He wishes he knew what it was, wishes he could gift it to her, wishes he could stop her looking so uncertain. But then a smile is spreading across her face, slow and warm and deliberate as the rising sun and he can’t help the ease that settles over him too in answer.
“I love you,” she whispers softly, sincerely, without a trace of doubt or hesitation in her as she looks into his eyes.
He swallows, blinking, startled at this. She hasn’t said those words to him, not since their kiss and never in this way and he can’t breathe. His chest is tight, as though his heart has swollen up and crushed his lungs, leaving no room for anything inside him but the way she makes him feel.
“I love you too,” he breathes onto her lips. The words come without permission, without thought. Because they’re true. He loves her. He’s loved her from the moment their eyes met and she looked at him the way she did, smiled at him the way she did and he has never been able to deny her that love.
That smile on her face broadens until it’s radiant and he feels like it could sustain him for years. Then she draws back slightly, fishing in her pockets for something he can’t see before she turns back to him.
“I know tattooing is traditional,” she begins, her voice strangely breathless. “And we can do that if you want, I I’d like that,” he blinks at her, utterly lost as she moves closer. He’s never seen her so anxious, so unsure of herself before and he wants nothing more than to take her in his arms and make her feel safe and secure.
“Mor-” He begins softly but she continues on, heedless of his interruption.
“But…I wanted to do it this way.” Swallowing she reaches out and takes his hands softly in hers. Placing one over the other she covers them both with her own and he jolts as the realisation of what she’s about to do hits him a moment before she does it.
“Morrigan,” he rasps out in warning, his eyes wide, his throat constricted as he stares at her.
She smiles, a hint of sadness in her molten brown eyes. “I’m sure,” she whispers, nodding her head. As though she’s heard every protest, every doubt in his head she goes on, one hand reaching up to caress his cheek, stroking with her thumb. “I love you, Azriel,” she breathes quietly. “I’ve loved you almost our entire lives. I will always love you, Az.” She kisses him then, quick and brief, as though she can’t help herself, as though she needs the contact, needs to express what she’s feeling in some physical way to try and make him understand.
Taking a deep breath she straightens, holding herself like a queen, like a goddess carved of mortal flesh, she looks at him, looks into his eyes and he knows she sees everything. She’s been there for it all, every shadow, every demon, every stain upon his soul and still. Still she looks at him like that. As though he’s as precious to her as she is to him. As though she might burst from the depth of her love for him, even as he thinks he will for her. As though…As though she truly means every word she’s just spoken to him.
“You don’t have to say yes,” she tells him quietly, “I know you,” she tells him quietly, “I know you’re scared. I know you don’t- I know you wanted to take it slow, to give me time to run, to change my mind, to find someone,” she breaks off, jaw tightening as she refuses to force the word out, the word that’s haunted him for centuries.
Composing herself enough she gets out, “But…I’m not going anywhere, Azriel.” She blinks rapidly and a single tear slips from her eyes. He brushes it away without thinking and she continues, “I’ll wait for you. For however long it takes until you’re ready.” He opens his mouth but no words come out, emotion clogs his throat and tears slowly fill his own eyes but he holds them back, watching her, awe in every fibre of him.
“I will wait for you, I promise. But I need you to know that…I want this. I’m surer of this than I’ve ever been of anything in my life.” She swallows, breathing deeply as she presses something small and circular into his palm then tenderly closes his scarred fingers around it. “I want to marry you, Azriel.” His heart stutters to a halt as he looks down at his hand, almost afraid to open it. “Now. In a month. In a decade. In a millennia. I don’t care. I just…I want to be your wife.” He looks up at her again in time to watch her say softly, “If you’ll have me.”
Swallowing tightly past the lump in his own throat he reluctantly looks away from her shining eyes and down to his hand. Slowly uncurling his fingers Azriel looks down at the ring in his palm. Simple, elegant, three thin bands of silver that are woven through one another endlessly with no clearly defined beginning or end. It had belonged to his mother and it’s the only thing he has left of her.
He glances back up at Mor again and finds her staring at him, visibly trembling as she waits for his reaction. “Az?” she whispers hesitantly, voice straining with nerves, hands clenched into tight fists at her sides.
Slowly, deliberately, Az moves forwards and lifts her hand gently and coaxes her fingers to unclench. Tears flow freely down both of their faces as he lovingly slides the ring into place on her finger, marvelling at how well it fits. Her face splits into a broad grin and she throws herself into his arms, her legs wrapping around his waist and Azriel finds himself laughing as he slides his arms around her, holding her close. Her lips meet his in a deep, slow kiss and he folds his wings tenderly around them as he carries her slowly back towards the bed.
Five hundred years. Five hundred years they waited. It’s been long enough.