6/2/17 - NOTE - PLEASE READ: I HAVE COMBINED CHAPTERS 1 AND 2, SO CHAPTER 14 WILL ONCE AGAIN BE THE NEWLY RELEASED CHAPTER. I APOLOGIZE FOR ANY CONFUSION. THANK YOU LOVELY READERS.
A/N: hellooo! this is an elorcan fic written for the series Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas :) I read the entire ToG series over my past winter break, and I achingly loved Lorcan and Elide so much that I wished there was more about them in the latest book of the series, Empire of Storms (EoS). This is set after EoS, and I'm not sure how long it will be yet but I'm expecting it to be at least 50k words! I'm a super busy student so I don't have much free time in general, but I love this story so I'm working on it whenever I can. I occasionally run through the entire story and edit it, so don't be surprised if the story reads a little bit differently from what you remember! Reviews, comments, ideas, suggestions, wishes, and dreams are appreciated. :) Hope you love Lorcan and Elide as much as I do~
[3/6/17 - fixed some embarrassing typos]
[5/25/17 - additional edits made]
Pale Skin and Onyx Eyes
Part I: The Search - Chapters 1-8
Part II: The Journey - Chapters 9-15
Part III: The Mission - Chapters 16+++
Lorcan was surprised at how much it had hurt after Elide ignored him and sidestepped him for the witch Asterin, back when they were on the shores of the Stone Marshes. And then she had barely spoken to him after he, Gavriel, and Rowan traveled in search of Aelin Ashryver Galathynius.
He knew he deserved it, knew he deserved it when Elide cursed him with her hateful words, and then later he had been stripped of his blood oath without honor. Did she hate him? He shuddered at the thought. He had only meant to protect her, and yet Maeve had used her like a pawn against the weakened fire–queen, Aelin Galathynius. Lorcan shook his head to try and clear his thoughts.
It had only been a few days since they had left in search of Aelin. Rowan was determined to find her, but with each passing day he grew more and more tense… And the hollow look in his eyes appeared more often. The closest Lorcan had come to experiencing Rowan's pain was when he saw Queen Maeve standing with Elide, who was being held by a Fae warrior with a knife to her slim throat. His heart had stopped, and he bit back the immediate urge to attack his Queen, the sovereign he had still been sworn to.
And now… He knew he no longer loved her, not anymore, not since Maeve threatened to have Elide whipped by Cairn and then made Elide watch as Cairn whipped the tattered queen. Not after Maeve commanded him to be still and silent. And then stripped him of his blood oath without honor. Lorcan swore under his breath, his face darkening. He splashed cold water onto his face and shook the droplets off.
Lorcan and Elide were currently resting at an inn in a small town on their way to Wendlyn, the continent west of Erilea. Along with Rowan and Gavriel, they had all thoroughly discussed all of the places Maeve could take Aelin. Rowan and Gavriel were out in their shifted forms, desperately searching for whispers in the wind, for any hint or sign of Maeve or where her boat was. Aelin could be anywhere in Erilea or Wendlyn, although they all agreed it was likely Maeve would show up in Doranelle eventually, especially because Lorcan was banned from returning.
Elide was downstairs gossiping; they had been hopping from town to town for the past few days in search of information, and Elide was still giving him the cold shoulder. She spoke to him only when necessary, and whenever he tried to apologize, she quickly excused herself and often went to ask Gavriel a question if he was around, or sat by him for warmth on cold nights. Lorcan would instinctively bare his teeth, and Gavriel would always pretend he didn't notice the male aggression. He would turn his back as if to say, You deserve it. Suffer the consequences patiently. She'll talk to you when she's ready.
Elide's laughter floated up the stairs, and Lorcan was reminded that his task was to make sure she was safe. Who knew where King Erawan or her loathsome uncle Vernon had sent men? They had infiltrated the Kingdom of Adarlan so easily. He pulled on a shirt and schooled his expression into neutrality while he headed downstairs, where Elide was chatting with a young couple at a table. He slid next to her wordlessly, and the couple's eyes widened as they took in his appearance. Lorcan bowed his head slightly to seem less threatening, like Elide had said.
"Oh! Logan! It's rude if you don't introduce yourself," Elide feigned surprise and chastised him teasingly, while batting her eyelashes. Nice that she was still able to act so friendly towards him. He resisted the urge to bare his teeth at her and drag her up the stairs so they could talk about her behavior.
"Hello, my name is Logan." He inclined his head slightly and smiled. Lorcan hated acting, but they had all agreed that it was best not to use their real names, since enemy ears could be anywhere. Both the man and woman appeared unremarkable, perhaps townspeople looking for news from outsiders, he surmised.
"Logan, this is Nat and Linsy. We were just chatting about the awful weather we've been having and when the rain's supposed to stop." It was dreadful out. It had been raining nonstop and traveling all day in the rain was too miserable. Elide had wrung her dress out on the doorstep of the inn when they first arrived.
"Logan is my fiancé," Elide continued to explain, casually bringing her hands above the table so that the couple could see them. She waggled her left hand. "Unfortunately, I don't have a ring yet because we've been traveling a lot and I don't want to lose it or attract thieves." Elide winked at him. Logan struggled to keep his face neutral and tried to smile. Since the incident on the beach, Elide had demoted him from husband to fiancé.
Linsy nodded knowingly, tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear. She briefly looked around and then lowered her voice and said, "We've heard there's been a lot of activity in– in towns and cities nearby."
Elide opened her mouth to reply, hope rising in her eyes at the thought of any new information, anything that could point them in the correct direction. Before she could say anything, Lorcan smoothly replied, "Linsy, if you don't mind, I would like to speak to my fiancée privately."
For a second, Elide narrowed her eyes at him before smoothing out the lines on her face and excusing herself. The couple seemed taken aback, but Elide apologized and said she would be right back. Lorcan was almost up the stairs when he realized he should be waiting for Elide. He held out his hand to her and tried to smile genuinely.
He wondered how badly he had failed because Elide rolled her eyes and hissed at him, "This better be important." She impatiently tugged on his hand as she climbed the stairs and Lorcan followed. As soon as they were out of eyesight, she tried to tug her hand away. Lorcan's jaw twitched but he let her go.
"Elide, please. Just come to my room for a moment. I only want to talk," Lorcan pleaded. He was reduced to pleading. Begging for her to pay attention to him and not look at him with those cold eyes. Lorcan silently cursed under his breath.
Elide sucked in a breath and looked at him. Her eyes seemed to soften slightly, but her voice was low and rough when she said, "Fine. But be quick."
Lorcan didn't even know what he was going to say. He quickly led her to his room and locked the door behind them so no one would catch them unaware. Elide was taking in the appearance of his room and his sparse belongings. They all had sparse belongings, since none of them had a home anymore.
Elide perched herself on the end of his bed. And looked at him expectantly.
Heat rushed through him. He wanted to push her delicate body down onto the bed, pin her pale arms above her head and see if her blood sang, too. He wanted to see her dark hair splay across his bed, watch her chest rise as she breathed. He was halfway to the bed when he realized he was still daydreaming. Lorcan growled under his breath and hoped his thoughts hadn't been revealed. She was still angry with him, so he would be angry too.
"Fiancé?" Lorcan hissed. It was the only thing he could think to say.
"I didn't think you would mind. You were so displeased when I told you to pretend to be my husband when we were traveling with the carnival." Her eyes dared him to deny what she just said. He didn't deny it.
"You needed me to protect you, you said a brother wouldn't be enough," Lorcan replied. Elide's eyes flashed.
"Well, I don't need you to protect me anymore. Manon taught me how to protect myself." Elide stood up and lifted her chin defiantly. "You don't even have to watch me anymore. Just go away, go do whatever it is you want to do. I'm sure there are plenty of women who would be happy to warm your bed." Elide strode to the door to leave.
Lorcan grabbed her wrist and pinned it against the door firmly in a flash. Gods, she was so aggravating. He could smell her cinnamon–and–elderberries scent, and his eyes flicked to the tendrils of hair that had wound their way out of the bun on her head. His nostrils flared.
Fear briefly flashed through Elide's eyes, before fierce anger replaced it. "Let me go," she hissed, struggling to pull her wrist away. Her other hand went to push his chest but he caught that wrist too, and pushed her carefully against the door. She felt so gods–damned breakable. He hadn't said what he needed to say, hadn't said anything at all but he couldn't let her go. He didn't know what his feelings were or how he felt but he knew he needed to say something, anything. Maybe it was because he was no longer under the blood oath that he felt all these strange emotions, that he couldn't sort out the turmoil in his heart. Her chest was heaving against him, such a distraction.
"Elide, I am sorry." Before he could be distracted by her rosebud lips and anything else, he opened his mouth and words tumbled out. "I was foolish, so foolish. I thought– I thought we were being attacked and that Maeve would save you–"
"Why would you think that? You betrayed her first!" She hissed at him, still struggling against his hold. His grip loosened slightly. She avoided his gaze as a hint of color creeped up her cheekbones. He noticed how close he was standing to her, and he took a small step back, relaxing his grip.
"Tell me, Elide, tell me what I have to do so that you won't hate me. Tell me how I can make this better," Lorcan said, his voice low. Pleading again. "After Maeve stripped me of the blood oath, I've been…" He struggled to find the pitiful, pathetic words. Lost. He had felt lost. He was lost, although he couldn't force himself to say it. Lorcan's onyx eyes searched hers, searching for something other than the anger and hatred he saw in them whenever she looked at him after he had gotten Aelin captured. He had put them all into this situation, after all the armies Aelin had called to her aid.
Elide had understood without hearing Lorcan finish his thought. She had felt the vast well of grief and self–loathing open up within him as he searched her eyes. She could feel his regret, and she hated herself for pitying him. For wanting to open up to him and wanting him to open up to her. But gods–damned Lorcan had gotten her queen captured, and as much as she wanted to forgive him, it wasn't time. And he had still protected her these past few days, even though she had been ignoring his sorry arse.
"Lorcan, I just need… time." Elide licked her lips and wriggled her right wrist free from his grip, looping a strand of dark brown hair behind her ear. "With everything that happened on the beach… I thought you were going to die. I was ready to die, with you, for you, all I know is I couldn't bear to watch. And I thought… I thought you felt the same towards me." Elide swallowed. She hadn't meant to sound so hurt.
Lorcan's eyes flickered to the scar on her arm, and she saw the muscles in his jaw clench tightly.
"I will never willingly put you in harm's way." Lorcan's voice was rough as he gently tipped her chin forward and met her gaze. "Never again. That was the blessing Mae- she gave me." Elide flinched slightly when Lorcan started to say Maeve's name again. The hurt he saw in her eyes was unbearable, and he knew it was all his fault. It was his fault for thinking he knew better, thinking he was anything but the naïve fool that Maeve had exposed him to be.
Elide swallowed again. "I should go now." In a flash, she slipped out the door. He could hear her breathing on the other side, and then she quietly went upstairs.
Blood was roaring in his ears, pounding in Lorcan's head. He was angry at himself for being such an idiot, for trusting rutting Maeve. He would gut her himself for using Elide as a negotiation tool and for stripping him of the blood oath so cruelly after centuries of being her faithful slave. Lorcan wanted to destroy something. He occasionally snarled as he paced the floor for a full minute, trying to calm himself, to keep himself from crumbling everything to dust. The inn would just be kindling, and he didn't want to pay for damages.
He slung on a jacket to hide his weapons from view and was halfway out the door when he heard a soft cry of pain from upstairs. Gods–damn it, he was such an idiot. In his blind rage, he hadn't thought to be vigilant, had thought that pulling his magic away from Elide was respectful. Dark magic spread from Lorcan in every direction as he headed up the stairs. He should have known better, he should have known that he couldn't leave that gods–damned, infuriatingly breakable woman alone by herself.