1.cherry wine - hozier // 2. nothing - lewis watson // 3.you - keaton henson // 4.only love - ben howard // 5.holocene- bon iver // 6. slow dancing in a burning room - john mayer // 7.bones - ben howard // 8. work song - hozier // 9. sweetheart, what have you done to us? - keaton henson // 10.stay - lewis watson // 11.from afar - vance joy // 12. first day of my life - bright eyes // 13. we all die trying to get it right - vance joy // 14. latch (acoustic) - sam smith // 15. cough syrup - young the giant // 16.for emma - bon iver // 17.we found each other in the dark - city and colour // 18.make it to me (stripped) - sam smith // 19.skinny love (cover) - ed sheeran // 20.let it go - james bay // 21.tenerife sea - ed sheeran // 22.your body is a wonderland - john mayer // 23.hold back the river - james bay
I am still obsessed with Cassian and Nesta and also the Bed Sharing-/ Enemies
to Lovers-/ Arranged Marriage AU, so I had to write this. It’s super angsty and
the plot is basically just a Slow Burn and them drooling over each other or
making out. Set in medieval times and everyone’s a knight. Enjoy.
(I also thought it would be fun to throw you right into the story without
any explanations- have fun figuring stuff out as you go along!)
“Beatrice: I wonder that you will still be talking, Signor Benedick:
nobody marks you. Benedick: What, my dear Lady Disdain!
Are you yet living?” ― William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing
Here’s the story of how Cassian
and Nesta fell in love.
Their grandchildren will request
to hear it one day, when all the years have passed by and their hair has turned
white. Winter has covered the lands outside the castle; and sitting in front of
a crackling fire, Cassian will take his wife’s hand. They’ll share a smile that
quietly asks, do youremember? And when they look at each
other they will not see the wrinkles in each other’s faces or the cane Cassian
has to use to walk by now- they will see each other as they once were when they
first met, a willful girl and a boy with the promise of a storm in his eyes.
It’s a messy story, Cassian will say. Full of prejudices
But a story worth telling, Nesta will add. And squeeze her husband’s hand. You’ll let some parts out, right?
He will raise her hand to his
lips and press a kiss to her skin. Just
the parts that belong only to us, my darling.
“I know you’re nervous about the
race”, Elain said. “But you don’t need to get so worked up.”
“Worked up? Me?” Nesta threw her hands in the air and proceeded to pace back
and forth in the small stable they were standing in. “I am perfectly fine! The
very picture of calmness! There is nothing that could interrupt my current
state of collection and serenity!” She stopped in front of Duren’s box, her
mare dancing lightly on the spot. “You’re the one that’s nervous”, she
murmured, and gently stroked the horse’s white fur. Duren lowered her head. She
had been given to Nesta on her nineteenth birthday, and ever since then, Nesta
had loved her with all her heart. Had spent hours and days on Duren’s back,
riding through the endless woods and along the cold streams of the northlands.
“I understand”, Elain implored.
“It’s stressful. All those people you haven’t seen for years- then there’s father-
and Feyre, of course”-
“Feyre seems to handle herself
A stable boy entered the stables,
visibly nervous. Nesta glared at him. “You again?”
“I’m sorry for interrupting your
conversation, my Lady!”, he blurted. “I
have been told to inform you that the races are about to begin, and I can fetch
a servant for you- if you want me to, that is- to bring out your racer to the
“Go, go!” Nesta waved her hand in
impatience. “I will do that myself. How much time is left?”
“Fifteen minutes, my Lady!”, the
boy stammered. “Are you sure you don’t need a servant?”
“Positive. Now off with you.” The
boy ran out outside as if stung by a bee.
“Be nicer, Nesta”, Elain pleaded.
“He was scared of you!”
Nesta opened the door to Duren’s
box. She was already saddled up, ready to be led to the race ground. “The goal
is that there are all scared of us, Elain.”
“Why are you like this?”, Elain
asked, growing desperation in her voice. “That is a horrible thought! Why would
you even say something like that?”
Nesta turned to lead Duren out of
the stables. “So that we might not share Feyre’s fate.”
“Feyre is marrying Rhysand, a man
she loves. The future High Lord of the Night Court.”
“Feyre is nineteen. She knows
nothing of men, or love, or anything in life, concerning that matter.”
“And you do?”
Flashing images popped up in
Nesta’s mind, a hand grabbing her wrists, a body pinning her down. A bloody
knife. She shoved them all away. “I know enough.”
Elain hurried after her. They
walked through the crisp morning air, the scent of wet leaves and fires carried
over to them by the wind. The courtyard was almost empty except for some busy servants.
Everyone had to be at the race grounds already.
“Nesta”, Elain panted when she
had caught up with her. “Just talk to me. Just tell me what’s wrong.”
“Nothing is wrong”, Nesta
answered through clenched teeth. There the race grounds were; there the
hundreds of noblemen stood, all elaborate dresses, adorned hats and dashing
suits; drinking, laughing, betting on the winner.
“It is about father, isn’t it?
It’s that thing you will not tell me about, that stupid thing that caused your fight years ago-“
“Yes!” Nesta halted, and whirled
around to her sister. “Yes! Of course it is! I have not been to the royal court
since I was nineteen because of that thing,
and I was forced to live locked up in some cold mansion in the north! I did not
get to see you share your first dance as an eligible woman, I did not see Feyre
get engaged, I was the one blamed
when I was not the one that started
it”- Nesta stopped herself. That was too much. Elain could never know about
She gathered herself,
straightened. “I was isolated from your lives”, she said coolly. “And now that
father has decided he wants to marry me off, I have suddenly become presentable
again. You must see that’s hard to accept.”
Elain grabbed her hand. “Then
tell me what it is that separated us”, she begged. “Tell me why you were sent
north three years ago. I will not judge, I will not think badly of you, I
simply want to understand!”
“No”, Nesta said and continued
walking towards the starting line, where the other racers were already waiting
with their horses. “All you need to know is that were it not for you and Feyre,
I would not manage to be here.”
“You can always talk to me, you
Nesta breathed out. “I do.”
“And at least you love racing.
This day can be fun for you.”
Nesta shook her head to clear her
thoughts. “You’re right. It will be fun. Elain”- she squeezed her sister’s
hand- “I truly am thankful for everything you do. I know I may seem harsh. I am
trying. It’s all so much- my first day back in Velaris, my first day back at
court…I am lucky I have you.”
Elain swallowed. “That’s good”,
she said, but in her eyes lay all the worries in the world.
There was no time for them to
talk anymore; Nesta was led to her own starting position by an organizer where
she mounted her horse. She briefly greeted the girl next to her, Countess
Amalia of the Autumn Court- she’d been invited to her birthday dinner once,
Nesta recalled. The spot on her left was still empty. At least she had not been
the last one to arrive.
“Lady Nesta”, Amalia whispered.
“Is it true? Are you back from the north?”
Nesta smiled thinly. “Apparently.”
“Are you terribly excited for
your sister? I would die! She must be in heaven!”
”Do not worry. Last I saw her,
she was eating breakfast.”
Amalia laughed. “Oh, I can’t wait
for you to join my tea parties again. You were always like a breeze of fresh
air with all those uptight princesses and ladies. Are you cold? I am so cold; I
hate horseback-riding, and I will surely finish last. My mother forced me to
participate.” Amalia sighed. “But that is the way of life. Mother commands, and
I do her bidding. I am much more looking forward to the real race later. The
Noble’s races are not the same thing.”
What Amalia said was true: this
race- called the Noble’s race- was simply in jest, something for the young Lords
and Ladies to compete with each other. Nesta had loved taking part in it before
she was sent north; it was the only thing she had really looked forward to when
her father had told her she would come back. Aside from living with her sisters
“You were sorely missed, though”,
Amalia continued. “You did win the Noble’s races almost each year, did you not?
The only one to challenge Rhysand and Cassian.”
“Right”, Nesta said, a little
uneasy. “Where is he, by the way? I have not seen him yet.”
“The Crown Prince?”
“No.” Nesta adjusted her gloves.
“The other one. Cassian.”
“Oh, he must be here any minute.
He’s won each race ever since you’ve been gone. He certainly won’t miss out on
“He has?” Nesta eyed Amalia
The Countess laughed again. “That’s
right, I almost forgot about that little feud of yours! Are the two of you
Nesta’s felt a flush on her face.
“We’re not enemies. I mean, I don’t know what he thinks about that subject.”
“Just ask him yourself”, Amalia
said and nodded her head at someone behind Nesta’s shoulder. “He is riding our
If Amalia had not pointed out that Cassian was
nearing the starting line, Nesta would have figured it out by the sudden cheers
and claps among the spectators. He had to be the clear favorite among the
Her heart beat faster, and not
because of the High Lord and his family that took their places on the high
balconies right now- no, because she hadn’t thought this through at all. What
would she say to Cassian? Would he ignore her? Insult her? Should she insult
him first, just to get a head start?
Nesta glanced over her shoulder. The
sight of him hit her like a brick. He was taller, to begin with, and older: everything
seemed broader, his chest, his arms- and his hair was longer, too, tied back
behind his head. He seemed in thought; didn’t notice the cheers, the crowd, or
her. Her stupid heart stuttered for a second.
“Cassian”, she said quickly when
he had taken his position next to her. She’d meant to say something clever. All
she could think of was his name.
we didn’t get the chance to become what we wanted but that’s okay because tonight I could have set the sky on fire and slow danced as it burned, and you would’ve drifted out of my mind, just like smoke and I was never the salt of the earth, brave girl I wanted to be, but I never stopped choosing peace even when I felt like hell, and I think one day, peace will conquer all the thoughts of you so I think I’m just going to keep slow dancing, watching the fire, because what else is there to see
Tries to work out where, precisely, that suggestion came from- Since he certainly hadn’t meant to offer his teaching services today.
Molly’s blinking up at him, her expression startled. His heart is thudding rather loudly in his chest- So loud that he feels an odd terror she’ll be able to hear it. That she’ll be able to tell that, whatever his attempts at nonchalance, his last offer was far from casual. The urge to babble under her gaze is becoming almost overwhelming but he tamps it down, makes himself look at her-
When he speaks next, his voice is surprisingly even.
like the whiskey
that we drank
to ignore it.
we were always drunk,
not drunk on love
but drunk on the idea
we could make it work.
let’s confess that
you can shift your gaze
away from the flames
as much as you please,
but you cannot
avoid the smoke
as you gasp for air.