The smell was what hit him first.
Rhys turned his head to the side, still not quite awake as a musky, rich scent slowly invaded his senses. The ties his mind kept to that smell were immediately negative, and Amarantha’s face - as it so often did in his dreams - appeared in his mind’s eye. She twisted above him, as he wished he could be somewhere, absolutely anywhere other than where he was; seeing his friends, tasting the sky on his tongue... swimming in stars...
But slowly that image started to fade, and in his place between dreaming and conscious, Rhys’s mind filled with the sweet sensation of a pair of lips on his neck, teeth barely nipping at the soft skin. Somehow though he knew that whoever was biting would be gentle - knew that it was love, not hate that drove that mouth to do such a tender, wicked thing - oh, Tamlin.
Rhys sat bolt upright. “Oh Tamlin?!”
He cursed as his rough voice hit the silence around him, shattering it and leaving him alone in his bedroom. He looked around him, running a hand over the top of his mussed hair and then across his ear to his neck, where he could almost still feel a kiss blossoming under his fingers.
Rhys jolted, the muscles of his chest jumping as another shot of that deep smell invaded his nose, and for a moment he remained naïve, unwilling to accept what his mind was presenting him with.
No, he thought, scowling. Absolutely not.
Absolutely yes! A feeling shot back.
Rhys hissed, his wings expanding from their relaxed, splayed position into tight muscles at his back. He felt like a raw nerve, completely exposed and bare, his fingers flexing as he looked around for the phantom lover that touched him.
He pulled back the covers, stepping onto the cold floor, determined to get dressed and do something that could take his mind off that tight, scraping feeling. Maybe he’d read a book, or go for a fly, or visit the house of wind, perhaps Mor was awake. What time is it-
Rhys stumbled back as an image slapped against his mind, whacking at his shield as if almost deliberately.
Soft cotton sheets were bunched up around Feyre, rolled at her back and coming off the side of the bed where she’d torn at them. The room smelt like roses and linen, hints of dust and grass and other flowers laced in pleasantly with the smell. But there was another scent, something more alive, sending Feyre into a wild state. She could just see over the slopes of her breasts from where she held them, down to the foot of the bed, where Tamlin knelt before her, his hair half up half down, hands on the sides of her knees where they were hooked over his shoulders, his tongue-
Rhys choked, punching up his mental wall of adamant before the image could go any further, before he’d have to consider Feyre - his mate, his mate - in that position with Tamlin. He didn’t want to think about how intense that feeling must be for her, if she was sending it down the bond unknowingly, down a bond that was formed because she was his. The irony was not lost on him.
Oh, oh Tam, I - that feels amazing.
Rhys pinched the bridge of his nose, gagging slightly, standing with his hand braced on his bedpost, fingers gripping it so tightly the wood began to groan.
“Fuck” he said quietly. And then a little louder. “Fuck!”
With a twitch of his fingers the fireplace at the foot of his bed sprung to life, the crackling and warmth not as soothing as Rhys had intended it to be. He went to his armoire and flung open the door, ripping it off it’s hinge and dropping it to the ground, uncaring. He searched blindly for a set of underwear, one hand holding his eyes shut on the inner corners, his face screwed up in concentration. His fingers made purchase on a soft pair of cotton shorts, and he eagerly tugged them on with two hands, stepping over the broken door and back towards his bed, glad to not be so naked. But a headache was beginning to form at the top of his jaw at how hard he was ignoring Feyre, his temples stinging at the effort it took to block out that much sensation.
He fought as a wave of unexpected pleasure rolled over him, starting in his thighs and melting up through his tensed stomach to his forearms. His head went light as his blood drained south, suddenly hard at the flood of feeling that he’d just stolen from Feyre. In the back of his mind he heard her moan, long and deep, the sound so delicious Rhys closed his eyes, nostrils flaring and his abdomen flexing. He could see her, what she’d look like, naked, her delicate back arched up with her stomach fully bare, her breasts full and heavy and - Cauldron, he was drooling.
He reached down and adjusted his underwear, too tight against his dick, too restraining against the evident need he felt. All he wanted was his mate, to have her with him, hold her in his arms, feel her up against him, have himself fully inside her, his hand on her ass, one in her hair, her name on his lips.
“Fuck!” He yelled again, earnestly.
It was in no way fair how this situation panned out. Tamlin did nothing, nothing, to help Feyre, just sitting there while Amarantha broke her spine, a spine that was so fragile and so obviously human. Yet he got her. He took her home, to the spring court. Even when she was Rhys’s mate. Even when he was horrible. And can’t even do that right-
Rhys cocked his head the side as a thought drifted in from Feyre, not as urgent as the others but still piquing his interest. He let his walls slip down as a half image half thought came in, frustrated and slightly tired.
“Does that feel good” no. “Yes.” The wall above her bed was dull and boring, much like the rudimentary circles Tamlin was making with his thumb on her clit, and she stared at it as he half heartedly attempted to please her again, a little too caught up in his own pleasure to pay attention to what he was doing for her. She sat on top of him, breasts bouncing as Tamlin drove himself into her, but suddenly her heart wasn’t into it, suddenly she just wanted to sleep...
Rhys laughed out loud, gripping his hair. She just wanted to sleep! That was what he’d gotten from her, a bored, tired, uncommitted feeling. He could almost dance with happiness, his grin to himself in his room wide and unapologetic.
Rhys’s grin dropped. “Oh, don’t.” He warned out loud.
His back arched as he felt a rip of pleasure jolt through his spine, the image of Feyre being flipped on her stomach and pressed into the mattress slicing into his brain unannounced and unwanted.
Harder, oh... please. Fuck.
Rhys ground his teeth, his dick throbbing and his head aching, a conflicting array of emotions passing through him as he heard his mate moan in pleasure at another male’s touch.
Insane, he thought. This will drive me insane.
He pushed back his hair, staring at the floor, his wings stiff and sore as he endured through laborious emotions and touches trickling through the bond.
Torturous amount of time passed, images and sounds and smells hitting Rhys at random moments like blows to the gut, rendering him dumb and immobile, sitting stock still as Feyre came and went, shooting through his mind like a star.
Feyre hadn’t realised she’d fallen asleep until she started dreaming. It was an in and out dream, one made up half of thoughts and half of unconscious mumblings from her mind, scrambled bits of the day that had come and gone. What was so interesting, though, was of the absence of the court under the mountain, and the lack of Amarantha’s face sneering down at her from her throne.
Tamlin breathed deeply beside her, one hand resting on her shoulder and his soft snoring reassuring and gentle.
But Tamlin was not what she saw in her dream either. Not her fiancé at all but instead a fire. A plain flame in a fireplace, eating contently through a log as it crackled in a bedroom, the only source of light, fighting against a pressing, jealous darkness.
Good evening, a voice rumbled through her. You’re done for the night, then?
Feyre, confused, and still watching the fire fend off the darkness, said; “I’m never done.”
She was not sure why she said that, but simply felt in the manner of thinking things in dreams that it was right. A foreign laugh walked its way up her spine, and she felt a touch against her inner leg.
I can see that. May I?
Feyre nodded, reaching for the flame in the fireplace. It didn’t burn when her fingers slipped through it.
She felt as though she was sitting on someone, could feel bare skin against the back of her thighs, the slight graze of material against her backside telling her that they weren’t as wholly naked as she was. Gentle, long hands went to her waist, one wrapping around her front to sit under her breast on her ribs, the other covering her bellybutton.
Tamlin? She asked in her mind.
A deep, midnight black feeling wrapped its claw around her words.
She leaned back, away from the fire, her back pressing against an undeniably, intoxicatingly male torso, the soft, prominent muscles stark against her shoulder blades.
The hand on her bellybutton drifted down to circle her clit lazily, feeling too intense too instantly to be a real sensation.
This isn’t real, she said, her voice coming only in thoughts.
You’re not real, the voice behind her responded.
Anger flared in her, enough to push away the pleasure. She turned on the lap she sat on, straddling it. She looked up at a handsome male’s face and knew him, but couldn’t say where from. A part of her told her it was important she recognised the devastating beauty before her, but her mind would not make the recognition.
I’m very real, she said. I’m Feyre. And I’m real.
You are not here, he said, his mouth never moving as his eyes raked over her face. I am only dreaming. I wanted you here and now you are, but not really.
His words made her head spin with confusion, the fire warm on her back in an overload of feeling and thought. The effort it took to stay tethered to this dream was exhausting, and Feyre felt vaguely like she was being pressed down by water.
She let her hands go to his bare chest, cupping the muscle there, her fingers kneading the flesh as she wished to be closer. He put his hands on her arms, and even that feeling was exquisite, sending a jolt to her core. She felt his length against her, and ground down against it, nearly coming at the friction.
He groaned in her ear, before laughing softly, the sound so intimate Feyre leaned closer to hear more. The drapes from a window had caught fire behind her, but she was not bothered. The fire didn’t hurt.
She felt one arm lift her by the middle, strong enough to bear her whole weight, and heard the sound of an elastic band snapping.
She gasped as she was sat back down, filled up instantly by the stranger that she knew, satisfyingly stretched and deliciously full. She dug her nails into a set of broad shoulders, pushing her breasts forward as one thrust sent sparks through her stomach. A pair of soft lips wrapped around her nipple, sucking on it as beside them walls caught fire.
Move, he begged. Move. Please.
Feyre had never felt a sensation so strong as she tilted her hips up and down on this stranger, so incredibly vivid that it had to be fake. He groaned against her, letting her breast fall out of his mouth to rest his forehead against her sternum.
You’re not Tamlin, Feyre said.
No, he said, angrily, suddenly grabbing her ass, I’m not.
He thrust up into her without mercy, somehow building that ever growing pressure, every thrust making her sure the next would undo her. She cried out, holding on to inky hair, a low whine building in her throat as the whole room burst into flame, his hand going down between them to rub figure eights on her clit, his own groans filling whatever space they were in.
That feels incredible, Feyre said, breathless and aching, wishing for some kind of release as he slid in and out, lifting her with his strong arms.
Yeah? I bet it does, better than him, better than Tamlin, he couldn’t even do this for you-
What? Feyre asked, suddenly pushing away to look into violet eyes, the beautiful face looking back at her ashamed and caught out, self conscious in a way that seemed to express he had revealed too much information-
And then the dream snapped out and Feyre was alone in her bed.
Tamlin was gone, and for a moment she sat up, slick and sweaty, looking around her frantically for a ghost, trying to recall her dream as it began to evade her like mist evaporating. She remembered eyes, what colour? Talons, no, hands, no - wait. Within seconds she couldn’t remember a thing, frantically searching through her mind for something other than fleeting pleasure.
Giving up, exhausted, she collapsed back down into her bed and slept fitfully for the rest of the night.
Rhys woke up sticky and pissed off.
He stalked out into the hall, intent to have a bath and burn his underwear, his dream strange and embarrassing, only moments of it remaining in his memory. He shielded his eyes from the weak morning light that filtered through a hallway window, and let out an aggravated growl as he tore the curtain closed, snapping it off its rail and ruining another piece of his furniture.
A cough behind him sent him whirling around, standing facing Azriel half way up the stairs, his spymaster’s eyebrows raised and his mouth in a distinct upside down curve, lips tucked in.
Rhys looked at Azriel, and then at the curtain, and back to Azriel, and then at his underwear, where a distinct dark patch had settled right above his groin, and then at his friend again.
They stood in silence as Azriel opened his mouth to say something, one finger raised in the air, before deciding better and closing his mouth. He nodded, then shook his head, then blinked, before doing a 180 and turning down the stairs, walking out the door and not looking back.
At breakfast Rhys showed up with fresh clothes and a pounding headache, and when Cassian snickered at him as he walked in, the High Lord told him just how hard and where his army general could stick his own dick.