A Little Elriel Fluff
Azriel had always had trouble sleeping, especially in the pitch black of the night. It surprised most people, that a shadowsinger like him should have so much trouble in the dark. But the dark… the dark reminded him too much of the cage of his childhood. It reminded of cold rags on the floor, of constant, gnawing hunger and the agony of freshly burned hands.
Even five centuries of freedom hadn’t completely purged him of that little spark of irrational fear, that fear of the dark. It was for this reason he always kept his curtains open the tiniest bit, so that the gentle light of the stars filtered through. Enough of a reminder that he didn’t destroy his bedroom every time he ripped himself out of a nightmare. (For Azriel could walk in darkness and shadow, could dance in it, could listen to its song… but sleep, sleep was another type of vulnerability entirely. Sleep was dangerous.)
Still, even this small precaution wasn’t enough for Azriel to let his guard down and let someone sleep next to him. Oh, he’d had lovers over the centuries - sometimes even ones that stayed for longer than one night. But he’d never laid beside them. (For so long he’d hoped, dreamed, that one day Mor might be the first by his side - glorious, free Mor. But she’d since told him that this dream was impossible… and so he had let it go, in little bits until the last vestiges of it had faded into a beloved memory.)
And then there was Elain. Unexpected and utterly beautiful in every way. She came into his life, into his heart, slowly until one day it hit him, what this feeling that had grown inside his chest was. And she was like him. Different. Different in a way the others couldn’t understand. The seer and the shadowsinger. What a pair they would make. And by the Cauldron, he’d longed to be a part of that pair, a half of a whole… to be something to Elain Archeron that he never been to anyone else before. He longed for her body lying next to him in the cursed dark, quiet and at peace. But he didn’t deserve that kind of happiness, that kind of companionship. Certainly not from someone as wholly good as Elain.
So he hadn’t dared hope that she might pick him, not after Mor and not when she already had Lucien Vanserra for a mate.
And yet she had. She’d picked him over her Cauldren-chosen mate.
And Azriel, damn him, couldn’t refuse her. Not when she looked at him like he mattered.
The second their lips met for the first time, the shadows retreated from him completely for the first time in centuries. They stayed away all night, when he learned her body so thoroughly with his. (She was so heartbreakingly lovely, delicate in a way that was uncommon among their kind… but despite appearances she was not weak. Never weak. Too often did people forget the kind of strength it took to stay kind in a cruel world. And she was a curious creature too, as eager to learn him as he was to learn her. Azriel also quickly found that her shyness did not extend to the bedroom, not with him - Mother above, she would truly be the death of him, one of these days… but he would would only be too happy to go.)
And when they were finally sated, and Elain slid into his side, draping her naked body over his, he did not find it in him to move away. To his eternal surprise, he drifted off into peaceful sleep.
His sleep remained completely undisturbed, to the point that when he finally opened his eyes, he was utterly disoriented. He sat up slightly in the pre-dawn light, running a hand through his ruffled hair and catalogued his surroundings with a shocking lack of panic.
He was home and-
“Elain,” he murmured softly, voice gruff with sleep, as he spotted her lying in his bed with him. Unharmed by his night terrors. Still so devastatingly perfect.
He couldn’t help but smile at the sight of her, the bare skin of her back aglow in the light of the slowly rising sun.
Azriel moved closer to her without hesitation, curling his naked body around hers and using a hand to pull her firmly into him, her back curved perfectly into his chest. She sighed contently against him, still fast asleep, and Azriel found himself pressing light kisses to the apple of her cheek, peppering them down and down until his face was hidden in the crook of her neck. His hands roamed freely over her sides with no real intent, simply touching her to revel in the feel of actually having her here with him.
He pressed another soft kiss under her chin, to her throat, her shoulder. Again and again and again, until his mind was filled with nothing but Elain, Elain, Elain.
Azriel immediately felt it when Elain finally awoke in his arms, despite the fact that she kept her eyes firmly closed. A small smile played at her lips, as if she couldn’t quite suppress her happiness.
He kissed her cheek again, lingering there as he spoke. “I’m afraid aren’t quite stealthy enough to fool me just yet,” he whispered, grinning when she sighed with faux disappointment.
Elain blinked her eyes open then, turning her head slightly so she could gaze up at him. Her gaze was soft with sleep, sparkling with quiet, gentle mischief. “I didn’t want to risk you stopping,” she told him, reaching up to trail light fingers down his jawline.
Azriel kissed her behind her ear in response, still grinning like a fool. He didn’t deserve this, he didn’t. But he couldn’t let go of it, of her, either. So he would stay with her, for as long as Elain found him worthy. He would stay for her.
His wing curled in around them then, cocooning them gently until their world narrowed down to this beautiful moment. “Then I won’t stop,” he said.
And he didn’t. He didn’t.