"I'll never unsee that" Nessian please!!! :)
@squaddreamcourt , you asked me to tag you when the fic was done, and here it is! I hope you’ll like it! @feyre-cursebreaker I am so incredibly sorry for making you wait for so much darling, and I hope you’ll like the fic even if it’s not what you asked for. @ the anons, I am sorry for the wait lovelies, but I hope you will like this💗
There’s nothing worse than being dead, one would think.
But a ghost would say otherwise.
There’s this thing with ghosts- or rather, with a very strange and particular kind of ghosts, that actually wins the prize for the most unfortunate supernatural entity worldwide; they don’t know who they are, they don’t know where they come from or how they got in whatever place they end up in, but there’s a couple of things they know for sure: they don’t have a body, they can’t be seen or heard and it takes a bunch of creepy tricks to get a message through, and they are most likely dead.
Or getting there.
And of course, the most important thing:
the first person they see in this strange existence of theirs is their soulmate.
It all started with Nesta’s cigarette disappearing; she started smoking when she was fifteen, after her Father said how much he hated the smell of it, and never stopped since.
So it annoyed her to no end when her apartment seemed to be hell bent on hiding her own cigarettes every time she bought a new pack of them.
Nesta groaned in frustration while throwing the pillows of her sofa in the air and she couldn’t help but mutter, her voice booming in the empty room, “Why do you keep hiding my cigarettes?”
She knows that she may sound mad and that it’s impossible for her own house to hide anything from her, but she just-just needs to be alone on her balcony with a cigarette between her fingers to calm down the roaring in her head.
She sighs, trying to readjust the pillows before she loses her patience completely but the sharp sound of glass breaking makes her turn, her heart thumping in her throat-
Nesta’s eyes widen and the breath stops in her lungs as she reads the words upon her wall, written in a deep shade of red with jagged letters:
“Because it’s bad for your health.”
He doesn’t know many things.
He doesn’t know who he is, what he is or how he ended here, but he knows that the most beautiful woman that he has ever seen is in front of him- and, well, he didn’t see many people but does it even matter when she’s there, just in front of him and she-
She ignores him completely.
And it drives him mad.
At first he thought she didn’t see him, which would make sense because he can’t even see himself, which is something that he really doesn’t want to think about, but he tried to talk, to scream and shout.
She didn’t even turn to him.
He looks at her- not that he can do much else, though he is not complaining- always on that couch reading book after book- and he knows some of those books, knows the titles, knows the words by heart even if he doesn’t know how that is possible- not even flinching and for some reason that he doesn’t know, it drives him completely out of his mind.
And then there’s the smoking.
She smokes so much she creates little grey clouds above her head in every room she goes and he can’t help but think of how much that must be unhealthy since she’s so tiny and he cares, even if he doesn’t know why, but it must be reasonable to care for the first person you ever saw in your entire life, if one can call this strange, invisible, unnerving thing life.
Bonus points for the fact that she is so beautiful she can make his breath stop in his lungs, but luckily for him, he doesn’t fucking breathe.
And then there are those times, when she goes out on the balcony to smoke before she goes to bed and her blue eyes reflect the color of the stars and he just- just wants to touch her, because she’s beautiful, but she looks so lost and he wants to take her hand, wants it with an intensity that frightens him but he can’t reach her, he can’t move, he can’t do anything but watch.
But, for being something that he can’t even explain, he is smart.
After glaring at her pack of cigarettes for three hours straight when she wasn’t home- and while asking himself relentlessly where the hell she was- he saw the damned thing move, and move, and move again until he finally managed to throw it out of the window.
He has never been more proud of himself.
And he did it again and again with various objects and in various occasions, like bringing her the hairbrush in the morning when she left it in her bedroom the night before or keeping her stash of books from falling over, or trying to give some sense to the utter mess that is her house and of course, his personal favorite: raising the temperature - that, well, that happened as an accident: one day he saw her having a discussion on the phone with someone and there was something, the look of complete delusion on her face but the complete lack of emotion in her voice, it made him want to scream at the person who was talking to her.
And suddenly the room was a oven- the first time was an accident, yes, but then it became a wonderful way to mess with her and it didn’t take him long to decide that sweaty and bothered was one of his favorite looks on her.
She never noticed, mostly because there wasn’t a logical explanation for the sudden change of degrees or to the never falling books, and maybe it was better like this.
He doesn’t know what happened or what was told to her during that phone call, but something did happen because she is smoking twice as much now and she’s so nervous her hands shake and what was a five minutes smoke on the balcony turned to her sitting in the cold for hours, staring at nothing.
And he honestly doesn’t care what he can or what he can’t do, he won’t stay here without trying to understand, without trying to help her.
So when she is trying to dismantle the sofa in her desperate chase after her damned cigarettes and wondering to herself why they always disappear, he takes a bottle of wine and smashes it against the wall, the soothing sound of glass against bricks, and tries to write with the dark liquid and even if the result is complete shit, the message is loud and clear.
“Because it’s bad for your health.”
He sees her beautiful eyes go wide, but she doesn’t scream.
She falls back on the sofa, gripping the armrest like a lifeline and he- he moves as if he wants to catch her, which is stupid because he can’t, but he tries.
He looks at her and at the wall and wills the wine to move again “Are you alright?”, he asks, and thinks of how dumb he is only when it’s already done.
How can he ask if she’s alright when an invisible something is writing on the wall of her house?
He hopes at least that the wine was of shitty quality.
She shakes her head and he feels a pang of guilt; the room warms slowly, without him even noticing but she- she looks less scared but it lasts a second and then she does it, the thing he hates the most in this house that means the world to him: she straightens her back, her chin high and hides herself behind that icy façade, the one he watched her use in countless phone calls and in the brief encounters with other people, looking in front of herself like whatever is happening is nothing of importance.
The wine moves on the wall creating an angry splash of red.
“What are you and what are you doing in my house.” she says, her voice cold and steady like she’s talking about the weather with a stranger.
“I-” he tries to write, but he doesn’t know, he doesn’t know a thing, he knows absolutely nothing “and you? Who are you and what are you doing here?” he asks, sounding childish even to himself, and maybe he shouldn’t but he wants to know her name and the fact that he didn’t get to hear it in all this time bothers him endlessly.
She opens her mouth and closes it like the question surprised her and it breaks her mask for a second and if he could smile, he would.
“I am Nesta Archeron, and I happen to live here.” she says while her eyes scan the room.
Nesta Archeron, he repeats the name in his mind, savoring word for word and it sounds like music.
“Nice to meet you, sweetheart.” he replies and there’s this adorable outraged expression on her face before she runs to the kitchen and comes back with a bag of salt, tearing it open and spraying it everywhere in the room, trying to do fuck knows what.
The pavement of the room becomes a white mess and she looks satisfied, as if she’s thinking she drove him away.
He starts to doodle in the salt.
She jumps in surprise “The salt- doesn’t it, doesn’t it banish things like you?” she asks and he wants to laugh, or chuckle, or make any kind of sound.
“I think that you watch too much of that thing over there, sweetheart.” he writes, drawing an arrow toward her television.
She recoils and he notices how her hands shake “This- this isn’t possible. It isn’t happening. You’re not real.” she whispers, like she’s scared someone will hear the fear in her voice.
“This is actually happening, sweetheart, and I happen to be very, very real.” he looks at the words, and then adds “More or less.”
She looks lost in disbelief and he doodles a smile in the salt, hoping it would help, but judging by the expression on her face, it only makes it worst.
“Are-are you a ghost?” she asks, and the word resonates in him.
“Maybe?” he writes, and that’s the best answer he can give her.
Nesta-ah, how he loves her name- inclines her head, making some strands of golden brown hair fall on her face and he aches, suddenly, with the need to tuck it behind her ear.
“I have a doubtful ghost in my house.” she says, like she is trying to make peace with the fact that, in fact, she does have a doubtful ghost in her house. Or maybe she’s just trying to find some logic in this situation.
“It’s not like I can go somewhere else.” he writes, and he doesn’t know if he’s trying to make her understand all of this or if he’s desperately trying to understand it himself.
He tried, he really, really did, but he couldn’t walk out the door- not that he can walk, but, you know- and finding himself splattered against her bedroom window is not an experience he is dying to make again.
And Nesta manages to land her icy blue eyes right on him, and the fact that she’s looking right through him it’s not only words: he feels real, in the few seconds in which she looks in his direction before turning away, he feels real.
Please look at me again.
She climbs on the sofa, slowly, as if she’s scared he’s going to attack her, but then she stands up again, muttering “I am going to bed, I am going to bed and tomorrow I will realize this was all a dream.”
He watches her go, looking at every inch of her, and slowly writes
“Whatever you say, sweetheart.”
The next day, he is still in Nesta’s house, waiting for her to wake up.
He knows the exact moment her feet touch the floor, and even if he thinks that it is kind of creepy, the moment she enters the living room with her hair a mess and sporting a striped violet pajama he does it again; he burns up, without being able to stop it, trying to keep the burning to himself without making the room seem like a chimney, but the vulnerability in her eyes the moment she wakes up is something that makes him feel, and he feels this, whatever it is, so strongly every part of him burns with it.
She looks around, trying to find some proof of what happened last night, but he cleaned everything up, because it seemed like an incredibly shitty thing to do, to leave her house a mess with salt and wine and broken glass.
“Are-are you still here?” she asks quietly, and he can’t help but love the look on her face, like she can’t believe she is seriously doing this.
She notices the notepad on the table the moment he takes the pen to write on it.
He finds out with a strange sort of satisfaction that he very much likes the color red.
“Good morning, Nesta.” he writes and cringes when he notices that, no matter his attempt at being suave, his calligraphy is utter shit.
She walks to the table, her eyes narrowed and probably trying to decipher what he wrote.
He wants- he wants to shout, wants to scream that it’s just a good morning note, that his calligraphy is shit because he is probably dead and didn’t got the opportunity to check his writing skills and honestly he doesn’t know why he feels so flustered and he is stupid, fucking stupid because for some reason the fact that she maybe won’t be able to read his good morning note since he is the most idiotic ghost ever makes him feel- makes him feel wrong.
She passes a hand through her hair and whispers “Good morning, ghost.” and- this, this is strange, because he honestly doesn’t know how he ended up on the ceiling, but he is, he’s like floating, soaring or maybe flying and it takes him a few seconds to realize that he is simply happy- but then she exhales, her hands on her hips “I understand that you can’t go out of this house, but this is my house and you’ll do as I say. No more tricks like last night and no more wine on the walls, Casper.”
“Casper?” he writes, because damn it, he doesn’t know what his name but he sure as hell isn’t named Casper.
“Yes. So you’ll act nicely from now own, because I can and will find a way to kick you out if it comes to it.” her voice is like steel against ice and even if her words should maybe get a different reaction out of him, he still can’t get down from the ceiling.
“Got it.”, he writes and he should really, really practice writing because a five years old would totally do a better job at it than him.
She just nods and heads for the kitchen and he knows she wants a cigarette because she is grinding her index and middle finger together, but he also knows she isn’t going to ask him.
He watches as she prepares her breakfast, looks as she opens the cabinet of the kitchen, every movement quick and efficient but almost angry.
As she sits on the chair she looks for him, he can feel it, so he moves the cereal box toward her, as slowly as he can.
Her eyes go wide like she isn’t used to the simple kindness.
“Thank you.” she whispers, her eyes behind the cereal box, exactly where he is, and he aches.
She eats quickly, her morning going with the flow f the routine and when she moves to the bathroom and her bedroom, he stays planted in the kitchen, trying to remember that privacy is an actual thing that should be respected and stares at the wall, finding interesting patterns in the crack of the paint.
Luckily he hears her entering the living room before he sets everything on fire and it’s strange, how every time he looks at her, with her fresh clean clothes and her perfect face and the posture of a queen ready for battle he feels concrete; it lasts a bunch of seconds, a short span of her heartbeats, but it’s enough for him.
He takes the notepad again.
“Where are you going?” he asks, and the letters are incredibly tiny, because he doesn’t want to pry but he absolutely wants to know.
She looks at the sheet of paper, her eyebrow raised.
“I am going out.” she answers, and with that, she walks out of the house, not even looking back.
The edges of the notepad burn.
The thing with being a ghost, he thinks, is that it is a very, very boring business.
He doodles-a mockery of Nesta and her damned eyebrows and her damned hair and her damned perfect everything- he tries to read some of her books-she studies law but has a love for romantic books, which he keeps well in mind for future teasing material.
He readjusts her ever growing pile of biscuits, all of them in different flavors of dark chocolate, but he doesn’t go near her bedroom because he perfectly remembers how just seeing her underwear on the ground led to thoughts and thoughts led to him nearly setting the sofa on fire.
But he’s no good with waiting and ends passing most of his time near the window, waiting for her to come back like a complete fool, moving as much as he can until he ends plastered to the window, again.
When he hears the sharp sound of heels- click,click- he moves away from the window as fast as he can, as if she could see him and the big idiot that he is.
She’s holding a brown grocery bag and the usual whirlwind of questions barrels through him
Is it heavy?
What did you buy?
Is that soy milk?
What do you like?
Are those instant noodles again Nesta Archeron I swear to god-
She places the bag on the kitchen table with a huff, strands of hair falling on her face as she stretches a bit, her face open and vulnerable and he doesn’t know if she’s being so human because she forgot he is there or because she doesn’t care, and he honestly doesn’t know what hurts the most.
And it’s a funny thing, being hurt when you’re dead.
Just his luck.
But she turns, her eyes and their ability to land right over him.
“Hello”, he writes.
And from his advantaged view from the ceiling he looks at her as she prepares her tea, slamming cupboards as if the last moments never happened, angry with the world again.
She takes a bright pink bag, not the black tea person he suspected, Nesta, but a fruity tea lover.
He snorts, and is for once happy that he makes no sounds, just a quite rattling only in his head.
What starts the discussion is the incredible amount of sugar she drops in her tea.
“What are you doing?” he asks after the third sugar-cube drowns in the dark pink liquid.
“Sweetening my tea.” she says, her pale hand moving the teaspoon slowly and he’s mesmerized by the action before he replies “What you are doing is wetting sugar with some tea.”
She reads his answer but doesn’t reply right away, as if she’s looking for the perfect answer and when she does, her smile lights up with cruel delight “And how would you know?”, she asks, doesn’t need to add another word for the point to come across and he is silent, fuming with rage only he can feel and that he can’t express and trying to keep it inside him, to not let her see how deep her words went but he sees a bead of sweat above her upper lip and even as the temperature goes higher, she smirks.
He tries to write something and the pen melts into the invisible grasp, and Nesta drinks her tea, her knees drawn to her chest.
He could tell her, tell her that all the sugar in the world won’t make her any sweet but he sees as she searches into the pocket of her jeans for her cigarettes, so he writes “I might not know, but that’s not really my choice.” he sees as she brings a cigarette to her lips, soft and red and so- “Do you do something that isn’t smoking, sweetheart?”
She doesn’t stop, just looks right through him as she lights her cigarette but he can see it, see it in her eyes how annoyed she is.
“I don’t see why I should explain myself to you, since you don’t even exist.” she answers, taking a long drag of smoke, like time doesn’t matter to her as long as she can hide behind the smoke of the cigarette.
He can only think of how her mouth would taste.
“I do exist, as you well know. I am just not visible.”
“What do you remember? Don’t you know your name? Something?” she asks, her innocent curiosity so at odds with the smirk of just a few heartbeats ago.
“I remember you.” he writes “This house. It’s like I’ve always been here.”
Her eyebrows knit together and just when her mouth opens to say something else, her phone rings.
“Elain? Oh, yes. Oh,no, I-” she looks at him, for a moment and there’ so much in her eyes he feels full “Come here,” she says, “with Feyre. Yes. It’s been too long.”
Nesta looks nostalgic, almost happy, like she’s seeing something, another opportunity, a new beginning that she always wanted.
He imagines fingers-his fingers-on her cheek, tries to imagine Nesta leaning into the touch, vulnerable and open and trusting.
“Are we having guests?” he writes. Nesta didn’t let go of her phone and is still looking at the screen.
“My sisters.” she says, but the tone of her voice is full of doubt, like the relationship with her sister is flawed, or crooked and she already thinks it beyond repairing.
“I need to call a restaurant, to get the orders in-”
“You are not getting take-out, Nesta Archeron.” he writes.
There’s something that disturbs him about the idea of getting food prepared by someone else for your own family, for someone you love.
“And what do you suggest that we do, then? I can’t cook.” she asks, her phone on the table.
He tries to form a reply while his nonexisting body tries to get over the fact that she said we.
“We cook, that’s what we do.”
She raises her eyebrow, disbelief showing plain on her face.
“Show me your worst, Archeron.”
It turns out that Nesta Archeron really, truly can’t cook to save her life.
But he can.
“How much salt are you throwing over there, sweetheart?” he writes for the third time and Nesta looks at him like she is going to kick his ass even if she can’t see it.
They prepared the table, did the dishes and tried to create a soothing atmosphere with Nesta’s incessant fidgeting.
She takes the salad to the table, her eyes scanning everything as if she’ll find some imperfection that she could use as an excuse to postpone the whole thing.
“I should have never said that. I should have kept my mouth shut.” she murmurs, but the doorbell rings, and she goes quickly to the door and he can hear her counting her breaths.
1, 2, 3
When her sisters arrive there are no big hugs, not shouting and loud kisses, just a sort of understanding of how things are, and things are not very good, in his opinion.
One of the sisters, Elain, brought flowers, and Nesta rushes to the kitchen for a vase, which he lets her find ready near the sink alongside a note that says “You are so lucky to have me.”
She doesn’t sneer at the note, just searches for him before getting out of the room.
The dinner is quiet, aside from the how are you and the what you have been doing and while Elain looks over the moon with joy he can’t seem to understand the tension between Nesta and Feyre, but he sees as the younger reaches out between the passing of the salad which dressing Nesta fucked up more times than he can count, doubt on her features, gripping her older sister wrist like a death grip or a call full of hope.
She says something about starting over which he doesn’t listen as carefully as he probably should, which he feels a bit ashamed of, but he is too busy looking at Nesta, at the crease between her brows, at the way she looks at her sisters fingers around her arm and he knows, he knows exactly what hides behind her eyes, the battle within her heart and pride, the need to hide and sneer and belittle as an armor, second nature, or to let something new and tender grow.
“Fine.” it’s all that she says and he tries to remind himself that this has nothing to do with him and he has no reason to be happy or to be floating toward the ceiling like the most idiotic ghost-balloon ever, but he is, he’s happy for her, for the way the tension quietly shifts to content, for the quiet laughs and for the little clinking of glasses to the new beginnings, courtesy of Elain.
When they leave he can’t help but notice how the house feels warmer-and for once for a reason that isn’t his inability to control himself- and can’t help but love the soft pink on Nesta’s cheeks and how happy she looks in this four walls of theirs.
He can see that she’s tired, so he turns off the lights, makes the house just a bit warmer and when Nesta is already in her bed he hears it.
And in the end, he thinks that the view from the ceiling is not so bad.
The day after he discovers that when he laughs, he rolls around, which makes him wonder if he will ever do something even remotely graceful, but when Nesta comes out of the bedroom in a red pyjama full of pink polka dots and little panda bears and a green mask on her face, that’s when he loses it.
He starts to roll around, like he’s a little ball, like he’s trying to roll the head he doesn’t have back toward the ceiling, creating a never ending motion.
“I’ll never unsee that.” he writes, but he’s writing is just a mess of overlapping letters that look like a roller coaster, like he’s having too much fun to see where his pen lands.
“There’s nothing to laugh about.” she says, going straight to the kitchen for breakfast, happier than he ever saw her this early in the morning.
“You are always a sight to behold, sweetheart.” he writes and she smiles while taking down her biscuits and it all speaks of routine, of being used to each other in the best way possible, of companionship, of being equals of some sort and he can’t help but think that if this is his life, he is grateful for it.
He also discovers he doesn’t like the cold.
It latches at him, goes through him, leaves him restless to right a past that never was.
But within all the things he doesn’t like there’s one he truly hates, and that thing is seeing Nesta cry.
She’s out on the balcony, an unlit cigarette between her fingers, the rain wetting the paper, making the tobacco fall, her mascara pooling under her eyes.
She doesn’t talk and makes no sound, her tears mix with the rain and he doesn’t know what he can do so he gets closer, rustling the leaves of long dead plants to let her know he’s there.
“My mother died ten years ago. My mother died.” she says, like she wants it to sink in, to let it be real because she still can’t believe it.
“And he didn’t care. My father didn’t care and I want to go- I want to go to the cemetery to see if he brought her flowers, a note, something. Did he even love her?” she asks, and she’s looking at him and he aches, wants to comfort her, so he just tries to touch her and by the look she gives him she feels it, feels him and as happy as he is he forces himself to stay on the ground, with her.
“He let her die,” she whispers, her lower lip trembling “he let her die and he didn’t care, didn’t care to call the doctors even when I begged him to, didn’t care for her, didn’t care for me, for my sisters, he hid behind Feyre like a spineless, useless, heartless coward and-”
She hides her face behind her hand, little sobs escaping her lips.
Don’t hide from me, he wants to say, but he tries to soothe her, to make her feel calm and loved and warm and he hates that for all the things he can do he can’t dry her tears or stop the rain from falling.
“It wasn’t right,” she says, finally “it isn’t right.”
He nudges to her a bit, drawing soothing circles in the palm of her hand and thinks of things to write along the lines of if I could make you tea, I would.
And he is surprised beyond belief to hear her snort and answer “You would never get the sugar right.”
He sees Feyre and Elain more frequently since that night.
Feyre brings some paintings, saying that the apartment lacks colors and when Nesta asks her to paint something red, his emotions and heart and everything he is goes a bit all over the place.
He still swears that the book that went into flames is in no way his fault.
Nesta buys a book of names, all blue and pink, designed to help young parents chose the name of their children, and reads it to him to help him remember his name.
Nothing came out of it, other than a strange call to names that start with c, a nostalgic wave for a certain Reece and a strange affinity for Jewish mystics.
In the end, he asks her to read it two times, but it’s all because he loves the sound of her voice; it’s low, but not cold or empty, the kind of voice that sings to lure sailors off their ships, but loving enough to be as sweet as spring.
When summer comes, he feels like he’s been in her house for a lifetime.
They pass evenings on the balcony, Nesta’s skin covered under layers and layers of sunscreen and he can’t forget the smile on her face when she splashed him with ice cold water, like a child, laughing like crystal bells.
Well, he did take his revenge with switching sugar with salt, and the face she made while drinking her tea after was priceless, and this- this are all the moments he will never be able to forget.
Until that night.
They are on the couch, the same couch she tried to climb in fear of him all those months ago, watching one of her tv series, but neither of them is giving the show much attention.
Him, on his behalf, is too busy looking at the freckles on her face, gently visible thanks to the summer sun, and she is looking at him.
Or rather, at the space he would occupy if had a solid body.
She looks away, but her eyes land on him every now and then and he feels a strange sort of anticipation, like waiting for fireworks to light up the night sky.
That’s when she moves, faster than a blink and stops just an inch away from where he is and he knows, he knows-
He knows that Nesta wants to touch him, to see if he’s really there, if he’s real and he wants to beg her, he would kneel before her, just to feel her skin on him, just once, but when she tries, her fingers moving toward him, she goes right through him and he can’t feel her, can’t feel her fingers or her skin or her touch and he can’t, he can’t, he can’t- can’t look at the sadness on her face, can’t deal and live with the fact that they will never touch, that he will never tuck her hair behind her ear, will never touch her, will never-
But he will, he will see her smile and tuck her hair behind her ear and kiss her until they are drunk on one another, he will hold her because she is the reason he wants to be alive and real and concrete, he just needs to-
He just needs to wake up.
It’s been three months without her ghost.
She doesn’t smoke anymore.
Nesta still doesn’t know what happened: a moment the ghost was there, on the couch with her, its warmth all around her and then it was gone and her house has never been so cold.
When she took her degree, she wanted to rush home, to tell to her ghost that she made it and when she came back home she realized that no amount of blankets in the middle of August would ever replicate that warmth.
Nesta didn’t think that she could miss so much someone who was never really there in the first place.
She sits on the balcony, the place full of memories of her ghost like the rest of the house when she hears a knock on the door.
She debates on answering, but the knocking becomes more insistent and she gets up, opening the door with an annoyed look on her face, but then-
There’s a man in front of her, long black hair flowing around his incredibly handsome face, hazel eyes that look right through her and trembling hands.
“Do you still like all that sugar in your tea, sweetheart?”