A/N: Helloooo readers of the world, fans of the Seven Realms from far and wide. It' been a while hasn't it. Well, not that long.
While reading The Gray Wolf Throne, I simply could not resist writing a story for Han and Raisa. I had loved that pairing since The Demon King and nothing has changed from then. In my world, they are meant to be.
Summary: this takes place right after Han and Raisa's final meeting in the conservatory the night before her coronation. It describes Raisa's "restless night" and what she thought during it. All of her feelings of the love she never could have came crashing together after her final exchange with the man she loved. Her dreams have come true, but everything comes with a price. They can only be together in her dreams, and dreams can exist just during the night...
Disclaimer: I do not own the Seven Realms. It is all the wonderful creation of the GREATEST AUTHOR EVER, Cinda Williams Chima. (I do quote her a bit, though...)
Raisa stood at the top of the staircase, staring back at Han Alister through the shadows that surrounded her. His gaze was cold and serious, but also fake. Raisa knew how he actually felt inside. She had ripped him apart. He had put himself out on a limb, offering to leave their home just for them to be together.
And she had shot him down.
Turning quickly, she bounded down the stairs, making it about halfway to her room before she backed against the wall and slid down, drawing her knees up to her chin and wrapping her arms around them, just as she had on the bench in the garden. With Han.
She wiped tears away from her eyes, the smooth the gems of the ring brushing her cheeks. Her new ring. Han's ring. The ring he said was a replica of Hanalea's. Raisa turned it around her finger, admiring its beauty and the way it shimmered in the moonlight.
In a way, it represented their love. It happened by night, tucked away in the shadows. And it brought out the best in them. When they were together, they shimmered and shined, like the stones in the moonlight. But, when life caught back up with them they were forced to hide away until the next opportunity presented itself, like when the day interrupted the moon's reign over the Spirit Mountains, high in the sky.
If only the night would never end. Not that night, at least. Then tomorrow would never come, and she would never have to become queen. She would never have to lose Han. She could just spend the rest of her life up in the conservatory with him, allowing their love to shine in the night under the light of the moon shining through the glass.
But she wouldn't be very deserving of the crown for hiding.
Gathering herself, Raisa staggered to her feet, following the rest of the staircase until it emerged back into her bedroom, the familiar room that had comforted her for years. Back when her problems were so trivial, she would come in, throw herself down onto her bed and cry, knowing that in a few moments Magret would come through the door and make everything better. The room had always soothed her.
Now, everything there just reminded her of Han.
The spot next to her bed where she had kissed him for the first time after far too long. The couch where she had laid down next to him and pressed against him, feeling nothing else but him, him loving her just as much she did him. The couch where they were interrupted, a pattern that followed them wherever they took their romance. The couch where she had begged him not to go. And the door, on the other side of which he probably slept, dreaming...who knows what.
Raisa collapsed onto her bed, slamming her head onto the pillow but not bothering to crawl under the blankets. She knew that sleep would be a tough thing for her to come by that night. She stared at the ceiling, not aware that her hand moved toward her lips, brushing over them.
Her lips still sizzled with the remnants of Han's last kiss in the garden, possibly the final kiss they would ever share. Her entire body tingled with the sensation of his touch, the caresses that made her feel loved, truly loved. Not loved because she was the princess heir and he would gain a title for courting her. Instead, Han loved her with a love that had burned brightly long before he even knew she was to be queen.
Han loved Raisa for who she really was.
And she loved him. Raisa had no doubt in her mind about: She was in love with Han Alister. If only she had heeded Amon's warning, back in Oden's Ford, where she had also begged him to stay when he wouldn't, or couldn't, just like the night in her room. Amon had told her not to fall in love with him, knowing it would lead to heartbreak or tragedy. Even back then, she had known the warning would no good. She had fallen for him, for everything he was. A streetlord. A wizard. A gentlemen. And a broken human being who needed her just as much as she needed him.
If only he understood how much she needed him.
However, regardless of how much Raisa needed Han, there would still be a queendom that, as of the next day, would need her to keep them afloat in the turmoil that was the Seven Realms. She would love nothing more to be with him forever, off in We'enhaven or Bruinswallow, or maybe even as far as Carthis, far across the Indio Ocean.
But that just wasn't the case. She could not abandon her queendom, her family, and her home.
Why does he have to be so damn proud? Raisa thought. If it wasn't for his pride, I could be queen and still have Han.
But would it be right for me to force him to play the part of an unmarried Wizard Council member, to have the world think that he is forever alone, just so we can have an affair whenever there's time? I can't do that. I love him too much.
Raisa swung her legs over the side of the bed, lifting herself onto her feet and beginning to pace the floor between the bed and the couch, keeping her thumb pressed against her new ring the whole time.
A long year ago, the summer before she had gone off to Oden's Ford with Amon and the Gray Wolves, Raisa highest hope was to be like Hanalea, her icon and the greatest queen of the new line. She wanted to live up to her name as a queen of the Gray Wolf Line.
Raisa had become exactly like Hanalea, like all of the queens that had come before and all those that would come after. Love came last, and marriage was simply a political tool used to form alliances and prevent civil wars. When love was found, it was forbidden, and came with great consequences. Barriers become more and more apparent the closer Raisa got to the throne. And the throne itself stood as the greatest barrier of all between love and her life. Once she ascended to take the throne in place of her mother, there would be no turning back.
I've turned him into the Demon King, Raisa thought.
He had made her aware of that.
You know, this is where Queen Hanalea used to meet with Alger Waterlow, Han had said. They used to come up here and make love in the rooftop garden.
Is that what she wanted to turn Han into, her lover that she met in secret in the glass garden? Her lover that would break the world if they married?
Raisa lifted her hand in front of the window, allowing the moon to reflect off of ring. A ring that only showed its true beauty at night.
Where did Hanalea get hers? Raisa wondered silently.
Suddenly her trail of pacing was stopped by her bed, which she forgotten about in her travel back and forth across the floor. Huffing out a long, confused breath, she collapsed onto the mattress, her face pressed against the fabric.
How long had it been since their meeting in the garden? An hour? Two? Or maybe only a few minutes. To Raisa, it felt like a lifetime, and a sorrowful lifetime at that, one full of regret and longing for the forbidden.
Would that be what the rest of her life would be like? Regretting losing the love that she had been forced sacrificed to become queen.
It was times like this when she especially missed her mother, and, unfortunately, there had been too many of those moments in the short time Marianna had been gone. Her mother was an expert at finding happiness in a life void of love. She had had her kingdom, something Raisa would gain the next day. Thousands of loving people staring up at their queen with anxious, loving eyes, admiring the woman who ruled them. As for her consort, Marianna had found happiness when she was with Averill, most likely because of the long periods they were apart. And, of course, there were her children, her heirs. Raisa wouldn't want a great many children. After all, why would she want to have children with a man she didn't love.
Who would it be, anyway? Reid Demonai was the obvious choice. He wasn't a wizard, though he acted a pompous ass, just like one. He was of Clan blood, which would strengthen the bond between the Vale and the Clans. Hopefully. It seemed to have been a good choice for her mother.
Then again, her mother had still longed for the man she had been forced to leave behind. Raisa would do the same.
If only everything could be like their evening in the conservatory. She only wished that she could spend the rest of her life wrapped in Han's arms, feeling his breath on her skin, his lips against her's. When she had been up there, intoxicated by his presence, she had made a silent promise to herself that she wouldn't give Han up. She had already sacrificed Amon for the throne, but Han would not be lost to her as well. Whatever it takes, she would find a way to keep him, and even if he disapproved, she would make him show that he loved her.
Raisa climbed into bed, wrapping herself in the blankets. Somehow, she had to find a way to rest during the few hours of darkness that still remained. How long had it been? How many hours of freedom did she have left?
Tomorrow, she would be queen. There would be no turning back. This was all she had ever wanted in her life, so why did it feel so wrong. The one goal of her life, of the lives of every princess heir that came before her, now seemed like a punishment, a jail sentence of the rest of her life to penalize her for the forbidden love that she pined for.
Once she was queen, Han would not be gone, only become forbidden. And he had been forbidden long before her coronation. Nothing would change outside of her title. During the day, she would be sure to play the part of a good queen and look at him with the eyes of an advisor.
But after sunset, her eyes would shift to become those of a lover, even if he wouldn't meet her gaze. By any means necessary, she would ensure that their exchange in glass garden would be the last of their kind.
They would be like his gift to her, the beautiful replica of Hanalea's ring, with their beauty shining only at night when the moon shines brightest.
If only the night was everlasting.
Well, how was it? Horrible, phenomenal? Completely gut-wrenching, or heart-wrenching? Will they be together? I can't answer that, so you'll have to wait a year. But what you can do now is review. So...please review!
Thanks for reading!