Lionhearted - Part 1 - Nessian fic
Summary: Modern AU - Nesta and Cassian run into each other frequently due to her sister’s engagement to his best friend, and the encounters never go the way either of them want. Tension boils over at the rehearsal dinner and then the next day at the wedding, where they say and do things they can’t take back.
Notes: Thanks to @blxckbeak and @acourtofstarsanddreams for talking to me about this fic! More specifically, about Nesta. Also I want to tag @christina-dh because she asked for me to tag her in a certain type of fic if I wrote it… which, the thing doesn’t happen until the second part, but I don’t want to spoil it. :) And I hope the anon who sent me this prompt also enjoys it! (The prompt was “the hills are alive with the sound of bullshit”.)
I’ve never written a modern AU, plus it’s nessian, so… let me know what you think!
Lionhearted (Part 1)
The evening before Feyre and Rhysand’s wedding, Nesta prepared for the rehearsal dinner by getting a drink alone. The bar of the hotel had seemed like as good a place as any for an over-priced gin and tonic, especially if it meant she didn’t have to wander alone down the sidewalk and be subjected to the inevitable leering of men who hung out on the city street corners at all hours of the day. She could play nice and support her sister, but she knew she needed something extra to smooth her sharper edges before she showed up at the restaurant. Edges that would inevitably come up against a certain infuriating best man. And combined with the fact that her father would be there… yes, she definitely needed this drink.
Sipping from her glass slowly, she listened to the hum of quiet conversation just outside the bar in the cavernous lobby of her hotel, to the first tentative sounds coming from the instruments of the jazz band that was setting up for the evening. She had chosen a hotel where few of the other guests were staying, a decision that she had explained to her sisters as the result of poor last-minute planning, but really had more to do with not wanting to be surrounded by the sycophants who clamored for her future brother-in-law’s attention. The kind of power that Rhysand’s family wielded would ensure security for her sister - for all of them, really - but Nesta had no intention of being caught up with his crowd.
She was seated at the end of the bar, close to where the bartender was cleaning glasses. There was no use in sitting too far away from the man with the bottle, she figured. Nesta was sure that no one she knew would show up here, at a generic hotel bar. Among the many privileges of being on her own was the fact that she could pretend to be ignorant of the group’s plans of where to meet, when, to think about having to please everyone else first. She was responsible for and answered to no one but herself.
As she drank, she thought about Feyre and Elain, the recent changes to their lives that had them seeing a bit more eye-to-eye. A week ago she had talked to Feyre alone, for the first time in ages. The strain between them had become less and less, lately; in fact, it had been the first time that Nesta had spoken frankly to her sister about their mother, their father, the way that Feyre had had to take responsibility of the household when they were teens. Nesta and Elain had left as soon as they could, Elain moving in with her now-former fiancé as soon as she had graduated college and Nesta just… moving on.
Nesta had told herself that their father, if left to his own devices long enough, would figure out that he was needed. That maybe one day he would get his act together and take care of her younger sisters. By leaving the moment she turned 18, she thought she was washing her hands of her responsibility towards them, forcing him to take it on himself. That didn’t happen, though, and she watched from afar as Feyre struggled to pick up the slack at far too young an age.
She told herself that the anger she reserved was for him, but it had a habit of being aimed at the wrong people.
When she had met Feyre for lunch, Nesta hadn’t expected to rehash the past. But over salads and microbrews, the two had come to a sort of… détente, if not outright understanding. Nesta knew her youngest sister would be fine, had found a life worth living, whether she had Rhys or not. And Feyre knew that Nesta had done what she felt necessary at the time, though it had come from a resentful, scornful place. Growing older had the effect of putting their childhood in perspective, and they were both ready to put aside animosity.
Nesta had asked about Rhysand, about how Feyre had met him - there was an ex, someone Rhys knew, who had had a hard time letting go. Nesta had been… displeased to find that her sister had needed help in that way. That she had experienced something like this without reaching to her sisters for help. Not that she could blame her little sister. But if this Rhys was everything that Feyre claimed, then she could be happy for her. She would give him a chance. Which was why she had flown out here and had even helped her sister with some of the wedding planning.
Checking her phone for the time, Nesta saw that she had planned perfectly. She had enough time for a second drink before leaving for the dinner at a new Italian place that Mor had clued Feyre in on, the kind of place where they cured their own meat. Finishing the last sip of her drink, Nesta asked for another and was waiting patiently when a voice came from behind her, smooth and taunting.
Her shoulders stiffened and she closed her eyes, cursing under her breath. Shit shit shit… Of all the hotels in the city, of all the bars… Turning her head while keeping her body facing the bar, she answered him.