*FANFIC * NESSIAN * PART ONE*
I know I promised more theories but I couldn’t help myself! Please remember it is fanfic-so try not to murder my heart and soul. :)
Nessian Part One by L.J. Lafleur
It’s been sixty-one days, exactly sixty-one days since the war. Since the violent beginning met a grizzly end. Sixty-one days since I saw my sisters conjure more courage, more fight than I could, than I did. It would be daft to say the war didn’t change me. I just didn’t realize how much it would.
Staring out the window in my room, I could see the garden Elain had been working so diligently on. I would watch her as she spent hours perfecting the courtyard-creating a garden that would put the Spring Court to shame. I couldn’t speak to her. After I abandoned them when we arrived back, retreating to my room in their time of need, I couldn’t face her. Even now, through the distance and window pane, I could barely look at her. Feyre reminded me of mother and Elain, she reminded me of father. Both of our parent’s dead. Both death’s I’ve witnessed, I watched utterly helpless as they died right before me. Both reminding me of the horrid memories that I can never erase.
My feet moved me away from the window, sweeping me towards the small shelf with my favorite novels. Someone had built a shelf when I was bathing, just above the cozy filigree green and cream fabric chair, and stacked all the novels I treasured. How anyone knew of them, I’ll never know. I guess we all have our secrets.
I scanned the shelf, my eyes falling on the chestnut leather bound at the end. A series of poems, love and death, sun and moon. The usual poet’s choice of topics. However, this wasn’t usual, nor is it unusual. It’s purity in the form of ink. My fingertips gently touched the leather, pulling it out of its new home. I opened to the first page, my eyes scanning the small print until the book slipped out of my slender hand.
The sound of leather smacking against the wooden floor reminded me of Illyrian leathers, bracing themselves against the army of Hybern. The army of weak demons and blood thirsty slave drivers. The book splayed opened, pages unveiling the words I never taught Feyre, the words of failure and cruelty.
This happened once before, when we first returned, I tried to read. To escape. I couldn’t get past the penetrating silence, the painful ringing in my ears the quiet cursed me with. It was similar to the silence that radiated through me as my power surged before emptying to save…to save…I can’t even say his name in my head. I even failed him. To protect him, us.
Decadent emerald walls edged towards me, slowly caving in like they had many times before. Before they could swallow me whole, I ran to the roof. Breathlessly clinging to the railings edge as I looked towards the horizon, towards the cobbled streets disappearing into the azure sea. This was the only place where there were no walls to keep me, no cauldron to imprison me, no king to attack me. I still couldn’t take baths without buckets, sleep in unforgiving darkness or face the fact that I had no more enemies to defeat.
“You missed practice…again.” Cassian’s commanding voice emphasized, again. His wings tucking behind him as he stood beside me, careful not to touch my skin. If he is the sun, I am the moon. His skin had darkened from several days of travel; and while his grew darker, mine became paler-unveiling a system of veins.
They stood on the roof top deck, overlooking Velaris. The sun had felt different, even though it was a fireball above us, it felt strangely cold. The wind and mountains, the sea-all these natural beauties had felt distant, colder since the war. It had been several weeks and normalcy had not replaced the ache each one of us felt, that much I knew.
“I’m sure you managed just fine by yourself, bastard.” I replied with venom, hoping it would scare him away.
Cassian’s eyes darkened, his lips twitched, “how will you defend yourself in the next war? Books?”
“I haven’t…” My voice failed me, I crossed my arms, forming what little barrier of strength I had left.
“You haven’t read? You’re not reading?” Concern lined his face as his eyes traced over my body searching for signs of external damage, of bloody wounds before gazing at my neck. The one he had once grazed his lips against.
I let out my held breath, slumping my shoulders without realizing as a small pond pooled in my eyes, “No,” I whispered. The sky felt like it was bulging, ready to collapse on top of me. I looked up instinctively, imagining the fleet of Illyrian warriors turning to dust with a sharp ray of light. A single tear breached the surface of my lashes, another blink and he would see, he would know of all the internal wounds I kept hidden from everyone. I turned away from him, dropping my trembling hands to my side-careful not to look up again.
Cassian’s calloused hand gently glided down my forearm as he moved closer. The warmth of his skin invading mine, down to my iced marrow and my ruptured heart. I could feel him towering over me, a god of war and steel, his shadow casting down upon me. The space between us ached, it screamed at the separation-the distance. Cassian’s smell lingered in my nostrils, incredibly potent, even more so delicious. A shudder threatened to rip through me but I stopped it, with whatever power I had left, I stopped it. It was a similar feeling to when his tongue flickered against my raging pulse.
“Do you think of them when you look at the sky?” I asked not only to distract myself from the overwhelming heat and smell that wrapped around me but for reassurance, that I wasn’t the only one. He stepped closer, the gap between them evaporating. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe-not with him this close. The leather against his chest touched against my back, I could feel his wild heart beat match mine.
Cassian sucked in a deep breath, the sun touched my hair as he looked up. An excruciating minute longer, and my head was covered by his shadow again. “Yes-I’ve never spent so much time looking at my boots.”
The hairs on the back of my neck stood in protest, I could feel his hazel eyes soften as stared at my bony spine pushing through my skin. “And do you ever see,” I coughed to clear the lump in my throat, “do you ever see your blood on your hands? Our enemy’s blood on your hands? My…my blood, on your hands?”
He let out a sharp breath, as if he was hit in the balls by my knee again. It took him a moment to digest what I was asking, what answers I was seeking. Or maybe it was just to recover from the unspoken words we all thought about.
“What I see most is you. I see you, Nesta.” Cassian paused, “I see the warrior I fought for, the woman I almost lost. The same woman I was ready to overturn the next world and the next just to find you again and do things the right way.” His voice tickled against the nape of my neck, “like I promised. And this time, not fail you,” he turned away as I turned towards him, letting the cold sun touch my hair as he rubbed his face, “again,” his voice almost broke as he burrowed his eyes into me.
I stared at him, my eyes widening as they brimmed with tears. My bottom lip quivered in defiance as I raised my chin. I opened my mouth slightly, I tried to protest, to reply, but my voice failed me-again. I had seen him look defeated before, when I stepped out of the cauldron and his wings, his beautiful wings had been shredded to nothing. And then again, when he told me to run as he fought off Hybern. My heart thudded against its cage, screeching, thrashing.
“Weakness is when you feel helpless, when you can’t move forward or backwards. Stagnate.” His head dipped, strands of his darker than night hair fell into his face as his hazel eyes raised to meet mine. “You, Nesta Archeon, are not weak. Take care to remember that.” Cassian’s voice had barely raised above a whisper, not for lack of strength but because he was emanating it through his hands that wrapped around mine.
I couldn’t take it; his eyes could see the deepest parts of me-the depths that even I didn’t want to venture to. The part that stole from the bastard cauldron with spite and malice. That cursed my past, present and future. I swiftly dropped his hand to turn away from him as my quiet sob found its way through me, making my shoulders rise and fall. The stillness stature I usually could maintain vanished as I shook uncontrollably.
Cassian stepped away from me, a building frost replacing his body heat. “My lessons are everyday at seven am,” his cocky voice rising with his left brow, “be there-unless you’re scared to get your ass kicked like your sister.”
“Yet it was me who saved your ass on the battlefield,” I replied, as sharp as the blade that I twisted in Hybern’s neck. I wiped the tears from my flushed cheeks before he could see either reaction. I still couldn’t look at him, if I looked at him then he would see the emotions I had pushed him away from seeing. I can’t let him see, I can’t let him in. I rebuilt the walls within, wall after wall until I was nothing more than bricks and iron.
“Remember that the next time you feel weak, Nes.” He muttered into my ear, his warm breath caressing my entire being.
“Don’t call me that,” I snapped, turning so quickly I thought I might topple over. My blazing blue eyes were matched with his, eye level and absolutely thickened with passionate angst.
“Nes,” Cassian replied smoothly, the corner of his lips turned upward. He raised his wings and with one flap down, he had sky rocketed into the air.
I wanted to look up but I couldn’t see him without seeing the hundreds who had died. I couldn’t see him without hearing my blood curdling scream in my ears as I called to him in battle-begging him to be with me. My trembling hands shook, pulling my attention downwards. The twist of my lips had altogether disappeared, tears leaking heavily from my eyes. I’ve lost control, not only of my life but of my reactions-my body.
“You’re not weak.” I repeated to myself over and over until the tears stopped shedding and the ache in my chest dulled. “Thank you,” I mumbled, covering my eyes as I took a deep breath before heading downstairs to my room.
On the stairs down from the roof, I could hear the singing of Elain in the garden several walls down. The sound of metal clinking as Elain handed Azriel her shovel and spike, he released a frail smile and even the movement of his lips-I heard it. I could hear the brush strokes of Feyre, painting Rhysand in their bedroom. His seductive laughter curling around them like a dark curtain.
A sickening burn churned in my stomach which only quickened my steps till I reached my room. I slammed the door shut, forgetting about my newly developed strength as the sound reverberated against the walls. My back slid against the wooden door until I reached the floor in a pile of onyx skirts. I studied the plain obsidian dress, the tight sleeves and bodice were crushing me, digging into my thinning flesh.
Flashes of Tomas’ hands ripping at my skirt, broken pieces of straw beneath me as I dug my nails into the flesh of his face. My screaming echoing through the barn as he pulled at me until I kicked him in his hardened staff. My caught breath as I ran, my thundering heart as tears burned down my cheeks. “You are not weak,” I whispered to myself, closing my eyes.
A second flash of Feyre, the curse breaker and Elain, the seer and me-the repulsive older sister who failed them. Venom and rage pumping through me until Feyre took on the role of protector, of savior. Another flash of my father breaking, begging and until he became nothing more than a shell…until saving us only to die at the hands of Hybern as I did nothing.
My shoulders stretched as I rested the back of my head against the door. “You are not weak, you are not weak.” I repeated as I softly banged the back of my head against the door. Several deep breaths later and I slowly rose, my back stiffening, my heart jolting at the thought of what Cassian said. Of each word, each letter that he carefully crafted into an arrow.
“I am not weak.”