That Starfall had been Feyre’s first and last, she believed. At the time, things didn’t seem uncomfortable between her and Rhys—until the party was over of course. Then Rhys seemed different somehow. More distant. Not in a cold way, but as if she were a stranger and he wasn’t quite sure what to say or how to introduce himself.
Feyre supposed it was her fault. That he had not wanted to kiss her—or, Mother forbid, it was bad. It had been her first kiss after all, and she knew life was not like the novels she read and that nothing completely perfect existed.
So now she sat—these thoughts still haunting her three years later—getting ready for her twentieth birthday. She wasn’t sure if Rhys or anyone from the Night Court was coming, though she was certain her mother likely invited them. She hadn’t communicated with Rhys very much these past few years, merely assuming he didn’t want to speak with her. That there was something forever broken between them. She kept her distance and he kept his, though she missed her friend so much it ached.
This was going to be a party she likely hated. As Feyre got older, her mother began inviting more men to her parties as to find her a husband. Thank goodness no one was ever actually forced upon her, but her mother constantly introduced her to Fae and human males alike. She was polite enough to all of them, and upheld some conversations, though none of them caught her eye. And some, it seemed, tried far too hard. She wondered how Nesta and Elain dodged their mother’s wishes, and how they weren’t even in relationships yet.
Nesta, Feyre had more of an inkling for, and it was because most people were intimidated by her. Elain however was sweet and innocent. Perhaps that was it: she was too innocent to see any advances. All in due time it would fall into place, she assumed.
Feyre finished her appearance with deep red lipstick and looked herself in the mirror. She had asked for Nesta’s help to dress her, because she honestly didn’t have the interest in finding something nice for herself on her own. And she must say that her sister has remarkable taste.
Elain had finished Feyre’s hair an hour or so ago—simply curled and pinned so that it fell delicately over her shoulder. And her dress was a red wine color that—even despite it being so cold outside—cut low down her back. And for how tight it fit her body…she couldn’t wear a number of underthings.
Feyre slipped into some comfortable shoes, and with a sigh set out to join her party.
In the first fifteen minutes alone, Luel introduced Feyre to three different men. And she was suddenly regretting wearing such a tight and revealing dress. It’s not that the men weren’t polite, it’s just that she felt that their eyes lingered longer in places that they shouldn’t. She wanted more than anything to leave the party. To get out of this dress and to escape to her painting room. But she’d agreed with her mother that she would stay. And was now regretting it.
Feyre supposed the food and sparkling wine helped whenever she got away from talking to anyone. Overall, she couldn’t really complain about her party. It was exquisite. Also, her mother bought her new art supplies, which was always a plus. Then of course there were various new clothes and shoes she received, but would likely hardly ever wear because she already had so many. Still, Feyre was thankful.
The room began getting too hot with all the bodies, so Feyre stepped onto the balcony for some fresh air; despite the fact that she didn’t even have a shawl. Within seconds, the winter kissed air cooled the sweat on her neck and she sighed—a puff of vapor clouding the air in front of her. The party sounds diminished and she was left in the cool of the night. It was surprisingly clear, so she had a full view of the moon and stars. Her heart grew heavy as she was pulled to the memory of the Night Court and its beauty. Would she ever get to go back?
The cold began creeping its way further under her dress and into her skin. Goosebumps rose on her arms, so she hugged herself to preserve warmth. She wasn’t ready to rejoin the fray quite yet.
Until footsteps sounded behind her. Feyre just convinced herself that it was a partygoer that needed air, same as she, and hoped that it wasn’t another suitor coming to talk to her at her mother’s behest. She kept her back to whoever it was.
Then a warmth covered her back and arms as a dark jacket was laid to rest on her shoulders, efficiently stopping the chills and shivers she wasn’t even aware she had. The gesture startled her until a familiar scent enveloped her senses—citrus and the sea.
Feyre’s heart leapt as she looked up to see exactly who she thought she would: Rhysand. With him standing here before her, after hardly talking for almost four years, Feyre wasn’t sure if she was relieved, angry, or happy. So many emotions passed through her that shock was the only thing evident on her face, and her mouth fell open.
“There you are,” Rhys said casually, with a hint of a smile, “I’ve been looking for you everywhere.”
Feyre swallowed when she heard his voice. By the Mother, she missed him. So much. She wanted to think that it had been easy these few years to let go of whatever they had together, but it hadn’t been. And now he was here. She didn’t care in the slightest if he didn’t want her like that, she just wanted them to at least be friends again. Tears sprung in her eyes.
“Why are you here, Rhys?” Feyre rasped. She hadn’t meant it to be harsh; it was a legitimate question. Why now? What would he say to her?
“I realize how distant I’ve been these past years, and I owe you an explanation. But I’d rather we talk where we’re not likely to be overheard.” Rhys replied. An explanation? Or an excuse? Feyre tried not to let any bitterness show.
Feyre wiped her eyes and motioned for Rhys to follow. “Follow me,” she said as she lead them back into the manor. They navigated the party—people practically parting for Rhys anyway. Feyre got incredulous looks from the males at he party and a few snooty glances from the women there. She just kept her chin down.
Once they broke away from the party, Feyre walked down an ever familiar hallway, Rhys following silently behind her. Eventually she came to the door she wanted and opened it—her painting room. Comforting and the safest place for her. Rhys followed her in and closed the door behind them.
It was warm enough in here that Feyre stripped Rhys’s jacket and returned it with a small “Thank you.” He gave a nod of his head in acknowledgment but folded it over the back of a chair.
“So what did you want to explain?” Feyre asked. And it was those few words that made Rhysand instantly more nervous than he had looked just seconds before.
He clenched and unclenched his fists and took a few deep breaths, all whilst avoiding Feyre’s eyes. She had never seen him look so disheveled, and it worried her slightly. What he had to tell her couldn’t be good if it elicited this kind of reaction.
When Rhys finally met Feyre’s gaze, he ran his fingers through his hair and said, “I know how insane this is going to sound, because even I still haven’t gotten a grasp on it. And I don’t expect you to say yes or accept anything, especially since how I’ve treated you. I shouldn’t have been so distant. I shouldn’t have abandoned you because, Feyre, you’re one of the greatest things that has come into my life.”
It was sort of startling to hear these things from him, so Feyre blurted, “What is this about, Rhys?”
A pause. Then a heaving sigh and Rhys focused solely on Feyre’s eyes, and she on his. “I think you’re my mate, Feyre.”
The words clanged through Feyre, but one settled in her core. Mate. A thing so rare and treasured amongst Fae that most don’t find it. And now a five-hundred year old Fae male—one of the seven High Lords—is telling her that she may be his. Mate. She may be Rhysand’s mate. He was not just a High Lord or a Fae, but her friend since she was eight years old.
Feyre swallowed against a lump that had formed in her throat. “How do you know?” The words came out softer than she intended.
“I can’t really explain it. I just…know. When we kissed, I felt it. The bond. It wasn’t strong, so I didn’t pay attention to it,” Rhys explained, “But even after the kiss, I felt it every time I looked at you. And I panicked. You were still young, only seventeen. I didn’t want to force it on you.
“But I didn’t handle it well, and I cut ties with you completely with no explanation. I shouldn’t have. That’s why I came here, to explain myself and tell you why. And to also tell you that I don’t expect you to accept the bond right now, if ever.” Rhys took a deep breath. “Because, Feyre, I don’t deserve you. For many reasons that you do not know, I don’t deserve to have you. But you have the right to know all of this. And you have to know that I love you, and have known since that kiss on Starfall.”
Rhys swallowed thickly as he finished, his eyes full of something akin to sorrow—and something else. Feyre’s throat was dry. Here this male was, saying that he did not deserve her, when she had no idea what she’d done to deserve him. To deserve his selflessness and this visage he had of her.
Still, it was a lot to take in. She knew Rhys would accept any answer she gave, even if it was undecided. But his confession—that he loved her…
“Rhys…” Feyre said, but paused as her words escaped her. Something plagued her, and she had to get it out. “What if I never Settle? What if I am mortal and I grow old? Whatever we have—if we are mates—I couldn’t do that to you.”
Rhys’s face turned grim. “It’s something we would have to see with time. And if it came to it…” Rhys wetted his lips. “For you, I would be more than willing to bind my life to yours. If it came to it, I would age with you.”
Feyre’s eyes welled with tears. “No, Rhys. I couldn’t ask you to do that for me. I wouldn’t want you to do that for me.” So what did that mean? Was she telling him that she rejected their bond to spare him potential heartbreak?
“You wouldn’t have to ask me, because I would want to. That’s how much I love you, Feyre,” Rhys stated as he approached her and took her hands in his, “Mortality is not a problem to me. I would walk through every afterlife to be with you. So it’s up to you now with whatever your answer may be.”
Feyre’s eyes were watery, but she did nothing to wipe the tears away as she did not want to stop holding Rhys’s hands. Now she found herself wondering what she did to deserve Rhysand. Why the Mother would ever bless her with this unselfish male.
Feyre looked at their joined hands and studied them in a moment of silence, as a small smile slowly began to dance on her lips. “Do you remember that forest painting I made all those years ago?” She asked, “And I told you the story of how a handsome Fae prince lived there?”
A smile that mirrored hers played at Rhysand’s lips. “I do.”
“Well, I think I prefer a prince from the City of Starlight now.” Feyre was fully aware of what she insinuated. And even more aware when she leaned up and kissed Rhysand.
Feyre’s memory didn’t do it justice. Not the softness of his lips or how he tasted and smelled. The way one of his hands rested on the nape of her neck, and the other on the bare small of her back, gave her chills. It was a moment of pure bliss. She wanted this. Wanted him. No matter what.
“You’ll have to tell me how all of this works,” Feyre breathed when the kiss broke at last, “I’m not really in touch with my Fae heritage.”
Rhys smiled. “Don’t worry, darling. I’ll always be here to help you if you need me.”
So Feyre smiled and kissed her mate, in a room that smelled of paint and Rhysand. Thus they took the first big step in their new life together.
A/N:I feel like doing more on this. It just seems a little unsettled, doesn’t it? I hope you’re enjoying this so far and I’m sorry it took so long to update! Thanks for the support!
Feyre had been waiting for this moment probably since she met Rhysand. Or since the night of her ninth birthday, when he had brought her those paints straight from the City of Starlight—Velaris. She was finally going there to see it for herself; to see the Rainbow and all other things to behold in this city that she’s only imagined in dreams. Feyre had tried painting it based on details from Rhys, but she never felt like she did it justice.
Part 2 for the feysand au! I probably won’t do this year by year, but I thought of this and wanted to write it. So, I hope you enjoy! ^_^
The Painter and the High Lord
“Luel is throwing another party so soon?” Rhysand asked as he approached Mor (who was examining her appearance in a mirror in the townhouse foyer). He held the invitation in his hand, which he just found not moments before. Given, it had been a couple months since the last time Rhys had been to the Archeron manor, but it was cold in the southern most part of Prythian in the winter.
“Don’t sound so surprised. She has always been a partier. That’s most likely why she lived in Velaris for so long before she found her husband,” Mor retorted, not even glancing at her cousin as she dabbed gloss onto her lips.
“What is it for this time?” Rhys inquired. It would be rude if he didn’t go, since he was formally invited, but it got crowded at Luel’s parties.
“It’s one of her daughter’s birthday. The youngest I believe.” Mor put in one earring, and then the next. Rhys’s interest sparked as he recalled the nighttime painting he received from little Feyre a few weeks ago; the one she promised to send him for not telling on her to Luel.
“Which is the youngest?” Rhys asked. If it was Feyre, then of course he’d have to show up. Just to thank her formally for the painting and to give her a present in return.
“F-Fair—Fae—Feyre! That’s the one,” Mor exclaimed as she finally thought of the correct name, “Are you coming with me?”
Rhysand laughed at his cousin. “Yes I’ll come, but I’ve got to make a stop somewhere before we go.”
“Feyre, hurry and get out of the bath! The guests are starting to arrive!” Nesta Archeron called from the other side of the bathroom door.
“So? My party was earlier, and we’ve got a million other bathrooms,” Feyre responded as she dumped a cup of water over her head, washing more of the mud from her hair. Sure, it was winter, but the snow wasn’t sticking yet so it just turned to mud. That’s what her ninth birthday consisted of: after Feyre got her presents and she ate cake with the other children, they went outside and threw snow-slash-mud balls at each other.
“Just be quick or else mother is going to get upset,” Nesta replied before her footsteps sounded down the hall. That’s when Feyre decided that on the off chance that she got walked in on by an adult, it may not be that great. She bathed quicker and dried off before making a dash for her bedroom in her towel.
Feyre quickly dressed in a simple tunic and pants—not bothering with fancy clothing this time. She was going to stay out of the way as usual, and in her art room, also as usual. She’d been working on mixing paint to make the same bluish-purple as Rhysand’s eyes. She wasn’t sure what she’d do with it afterwards, but it was a pretty color. She thought about painting a flower with it. That’s about all she was good at painting anyway. Nevertheless, the color always seemed to fall flat.
Feyre went through her steps of setting her paints up and examining her latest work: the beginnings of a pine forest. Only the outline of the tree trunks stood on the white canvas thus far, but she looked forward to adding the greens to the painting. Adding color to her paintings was always Feyre’s favorite part of the process.
She wet one of her brushes and dipped into the brown paint to start finishing the trunks and the ground. Soon she was lost in the world she was creating, imagining what goings on might occur in this forest she made. A handsome Fae prince lived there, like in the stories mother used to read to her at bedtime. Or monsters lurked in the shadows—ones that lived during the War centuries ago.
Feyre had become so entranced that she jumped when a knock sounded on the door. She quickly settled her nerves and set her brush aside, wiping her hands on the apron she bothered to wear. It struck her as odd that someone was knocking. If it had been one of her family members, they would have just walked in. It might just be one of her mother’s guests that thought they were at a bathroom.
“Who is it?” Feyre called as she approached the door. Her hand was on the knob as she awaited a response.
“Let me see…Does Rhysand or Rhys ring a bell?” An ever familiar deep voice replied. Feyre’s face lit up and she threw the door open to look up to the face she expected. “Your mother said I’d find you here. Though I didn’t expect anywhere else,” Rhys said down to her.
Feyre’s smile was wide and she couldn’t help giving him a hug, her head barely resting on his stomach. Rhysand squeezed her shoulders in return before kneeling to her level. “How have you been, little darling?” he asked with a reciprocated smile, “I got your painting, by the way, and it’s hanging in my townhouse.”
“Really?” Feyre beamed, “Did you like it?” She was practically bouncing with her excitement. To think that a High Fae would actually hang her art in his home was possibly the most exciting thing of her life.
“I did. I came to thank you properly for it. And I also heard that it’s your birthday, today,” Rhys replied coolly, “I brought you something.”
A box then materialized in Rhys’s hands, making Feyre leap back in surprise. It didn’t look like a birthday present—it wasn’t wrapped. It was just a pretty, wooden box and that Rhys extended out to her.
“What is it?” Feyre asked, as any child would. Rhys laughed.
“Why don’t you open it and find out? Just make sure you don’t shake it or drop it.” Rhys gently placed it in her open arms, helping her hold it. It was a lot heavier than it looked.
Feyre began guessing what it could be, before actually opening it, as she took it to the nearby desk. Was it a jewelry box? Some miniature toy set? She’d gotten plenty of those in the past, but this box didn’t look or feel anything like that. Rhys helped her place it on the desk, and Feyre sat on her knees in the chair so that she’d be able to see what was inside easier.
Carefully, she opened the lid and was met with the sight of twelve small, porcelain pots; as well as five paint brushes tucked carefully in between the two rows. Paint, Feyre realized. Her gasp matched her face of pure delight as she opened each small pot to see the colors inside. They were so vibrant—more vibrant than any paint she’d ever seen before. Then she got to the blue. Her attention quickly snapped up to Rhys who watched her expectantly, his eyebrows raised with curiosity; then her eyes went back to the blue.
“This color is so close to your eyes!” Feyre noted. She sprung to her feet—standing in the chair so that she stood just about a foot and a half taller than normal—and she gave Rhysand a tight hug. Tighter than the others she’d given him. “Thank you so much! This is the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten.”
“You’re very welcome,” Rhysand said as he hugged her back. When they released each other, Feyre jumped from the chair and grabbed one of her new brushes. She quickly wet it and grabbed the blue she’d just received, and the blue she tried to concoct earlier.
“Sit.” Feyre ordered and pointed to the chair she was just in. Rhys’s eyebrows rose in astonishment, but he complied. Without even thinking, Feyre then stirred the new, vibrant blue with the brush then made a streak on the back of her hand. After rinsing the brush, she did the same with her other mixture. Rhys just watched her patiently, never questioning.
“Look! I was trying to make this same color but it always looked so boring,” Feyre explained as she showed Rhys the swatches of paint. It was true that the paint she mixed didn’t pop nearly as much as the paint from Velaris.
“Well, I had a friend of mine from my city mix these paints especially for you. They’re exclusive from the Rainbow of Velaris,” Rhys told her. Feyre’s jaw nearly dropped.
“Rainbow? You have an actual rainbow in your city where you can get paint?” Feyre queried as her imagination wandered. She couldn’t even conceive such a thing existing.
Rhys gave a deep chuckle. “No. That’s just what my people call the place where all of our art is. It’s a whole neighborhood of art shops and museums.”
“Wow. I’d love to see that. I bet it’s so pretty. Would you ever take me to Ve-Vella—” Feyre stumbled over the name.
“Velaris? I’d love to take you someday. Your mother used to live there, as a matter of fact. You should ask her about it sometime,” Rhys insisted. Feyre nodded cheerfully.
She then turned to her attention to her easel. “Want to see my new painting?”
“Of course,” Rhysand responded. So she led him to her work station, and he knelt beside her to look at the painting more clearly. Feyre told him all about it—about the stories her mother used to tell her and her fantasies. It was somewhat embarrassing to tell Rhys about the Fae prince she imagined, but he didn’t even notice. He just seemed impressed with her imagination and story telling.
“I think you’d definitely like Velaris,” Rhys said after Feyre’s stories, “I have a castle, of sorts, of my own.”
“What? But you’re not a prince!” Feyre blurted. Rhys gave an amused laugh, completely caught off guard by the girl’s bluntness.
“You’re right, but I am a High Lord,” Rhys stated as if it were the most common thing to say. Feyre may as well have just been told that he had four eyes. She was astonished, but so amazed.
“Really? I’m friends with one of the seven High Lords? That’s so awesome!” Feyre cheered, “That sounds like a hero duo: the painter and the High Lord.” She could barely keep in her amazement. Rhys, however, was thoroughly entertained by her giddiness.
“I am constantly amazed with your personality, little Feyre. You have an impeccable imagination and you are so smart,” Rhys remarked with awe twinkling in his eyes. Feyre smiled at the compliment.
“I’m not that smart, though. I can’t even read,” Feyre retorted half-heartedly.
“Well whatever can be done, can be learned. I’ll teach you to read if you’d like,” Rhys offered. Feyre’s face instantly lit up again.
“Yes please. We can even start now!” Before Rhys could give a response, Feyre set to cleaning up her paints. She closed all of her new ones and washed the brushes out, tucking her new box safely against the wall on the desk. She cleaned up her other paints and washed those brushes as well, placing them neatly into the drawer. Cleaning up was just as routine as setting up.
When she was finished, she grabbed sheets of paper and two pens from a different drawer and placed them on the desk in front of Rhys, where he now sat again.
The rest of Rhys’s visit consisted of him helping Feyre write her alphabet, and learning what sounds the letters made. He had her practice writing her name and his; then simple words like ‘cat,’ which could be sounded out. She seemed to be catching on well with the simple things. Then she began getting tired, and her eyes became heavy until she couldn’t hold them open any longer.
Feyre fell asleep with her head on the desk and the pen still poised in her hand. Rhys had no problems lifting her and exiting the room—until he realized he had no idea where her bedroom was. To solve the slight dilemma, he followed her scent of paint and pine from the trees outside to where it was strongest and was met with a bedroom that fit her personality to a tee. Everything inside was painted to Feyre’s liking, and it made Rhys smile.
Rhys took the apron from Feyre’s small frame and tucked her into her bed. Before he dispersed, he left a few pieces of paper and a small letter explaining what they were for when she awoke:
Here is more magic paper to talk to me if you need to.
01/28/2017: Today Princess Marie, Prince Joachim and Princess Benedikte attended the funeral of Baron Niels Luel-Brockdorff, the father of Caroline Fleming. Caroline Fleming is good friends with Joachim and Marie, and Crown Princess Mary is godmother to Caroline’s daughter.
taichi/chihaya canon compliant title: this is how you lose her summary: “It’s not like how it’s written in mainstream YA fiction. It’s not the end of the world. You get hurt, but you’ll heal. No matter how much time it takes.” In which you get a closer look at the inner workings of Mashima Taichi’s mind throughout 20 years of his life. notes: very special thanks to Luel mahayana-na for beta'ing this for me. I can’t thank you enough, darling.
It begins before the beginning.
Actually, Taichi doesn’t quite remember when it started, but he remembers her short hair and tomboyish demeanour, and how she’d constantly annoy the heck out of him.