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Forgotten Flames (Broken Thrones Fire Light AU)

Chapter Text

Mare glared at the slice of elegant cake dusted in gold on the plate in front of her, stabbing it aggressively with her fork.  Imagining the confectioner’s masterpiece was Evangeline’s smug face.  

Eve was in for a rude awakening the next time they sparred, payback for the most uncomfortable night Mare had experienced in a while.  She didn’t know what game Eve was playing at but if she made one more suggestive comment about her and Tyton, Mare didn’t think she would be able to control the electricity pulsing through her fingers.  

Mare didn’t know what made it worse, the hopeful looks Tyton shot her at each of Eve’s carefully worded innuendos or the fact that the man on the other side of her seemed completely unmoved by them.  While the sensible part of her was relieved that Eve’s efforts to bait him went unanswered, a small part of her longed to feel the singe of his heat.  At least then she might have a hint regarding where they stood.

For a moment when she at first arrived, she had thought she had glimpsed a familiar fire burning in the eyes that had haunted her the past year.  But it had been so quickly replaced by an indifferent mask, she couldn’t be sure if it had just been her imagination conjuring what she wished to see. 

It had been awkward, making pleasant small talk with someone who had once seen into your very soul, and Mare felt further away from Cal than she had in months.  As if they were barely acquaintances who had once run in the same social circles.  Mare hated it and had spent most of the evening talking to Tyton, avoiding the handsome stranger with familiar bronze eyes.

This was not what she had expected, what she hoped for when she imagined them seeing each other again for the first time.  At all.  There were things she wanted to say to him, needed to ask him. But she was not asking them in front of the whole Samos family and Tyton. 

Maybe not ever, a small voice whispered in her head.  The part of her that was suddenly scared of what the answers might be.

Maybe she wasn’t ready yet.  

Mare grimaced as Eve’s sickly sweet voice interrupted her thoughts, recognizing the tone and immediately on alert.  Waiting for another nuanced comment regarding her and Tyton’s non-existing romantic relationship, couched in a seemingly innocent remark.  Surprisingly, though, Evangeline’s target this time wasn’t her but the ex-fire prince himself.

“So, Cal,” Evangeline said mischievously, “Tell me about this Natalia I have been hearing so much about. I confess, since Tolly told me about your new friend, a Silver who is helping to build the new government, I couldn't help but be intrigued.  You two much have so much in common, after all.”

Mare's eyes lifted from her plate, widening in alarm at Evangeline’s words before turning back to her dessert, feigning disinterest.

Maybe didn't even matter if she was ready.

Cal stiffened beside her but she didn’t dare look at him to see his reaction, dreading what she might see there.

“There’s not much to tell. We work together, and she’s good at her job,” Cal answered tightly.  “She's been a great help in the unification project.”

Oh, come on Calore,” Evangeline answered, with a deadly smile.  “Rumor has it, the girl is quite smitten with you.  Surely there must be something more.  Or are you just being a gentleman, deciding not to kiss and tell?”

Mare felt a rush of anxiety, finding it hard to breathe, the room seeming to shrink in size.  Suddenly she felt hot but wasn’t sure if it was coming off of Cal or a result of her world spiraling out of control.  Thinking of the many kisses she had shared with him and imagining his lips on someone else’s. 

She barely heard Cal’s response, only knew that he made one before she could feel the heavy weight of his gaze.

She couldn’t be here anymore, needed to get out.

She felt her sparks tingle closer to the surface and then a hand clamped down on her's, taking the electricity away.  Tyton.

Mare turned to look at him, it was safer than looking at the man to the other side of her.  His kind eyes searched hers and he squeezed her hand as if he could read her sudden wave of panic. 

“Mare,” Tyton said abruptly, all eyes turning to him.  “Didn’t we have to leave by ten, something about getting back to your sister?”

Mare stared blankly at him until he nudged her foot under the table.

“Oh, right, yeah,” Mare said quickly.  “I almost forgot.  What time is it?”

“It’s five to ten,” Tyton answered, shooting the rest of the table an apologetic smile.  “We should probably get going.”

“Surely little Barrow can wait a few more minutes?” Evangeline cut in with a pout.  “We haven’t even finished dessert yet.”

“No, she can’t,” Mare answered, shooting Evangeline a look. “Sorry, Elane, dinner was great. Thanks so much for having us.”

Mare stood up from the table with barely concealed relief and pushed her chair back before smiling politely around the table, careful to not let her gaze linger on any one person.

“It was nice seeing all of you,” Mare said, voice starting to show strain, before turning to Tyton.  “I just have to run to the bathroom before we leave. ’ll meet you out front?”

Mare escaped from the suffocating room as quickly as possible, making a beeline for the small guest bathroom at the end of the hall.  Shutting the door behind her she leaned against the door, heaving giant breaths of air as she tried to to calm herself down.  Finally, she turned to the mirror, angrily wiping away the few tears that threatened to fall from her eyes.  

“Pull yourself together, Mare,” she grumbled at her reflection in the mirror.

Of course, Cal had moved on. It had been fourteen months. Mare shook the image of Cal laughing with a beautiful blonde-haired girl with Silver blood out of her mind.  That was the life Cal was meant to have, not one with her. Not with a damaged, plain-looking Red girl. 

Not with the person who had murdered his brother.

How could she have let herself think he would even want that? That he would have waited for that future?

A knock on the door was the final piece Mare needed to pull herself together, to keep herself from crumbling into a ball of miserable rejection. At least long enough until she got home to the safety of her bed.  Tyton had probably gotten sick of waiting for her, came to find her so they could leave. She suddenly felt guilty, knowing the only reason Tyton had come tonight was that she asked, that otherwise, he would never be at a dinner with a bunch of virtual strangers.

Taking a deep breath, Mare steeled herself to open the door and put up a semblance of a smile.

“Sorry I took so long-“ she started as she opened the door, only to stop short as she came face to face with Cal.

“Sorry,” Cal mumbled, stepping back slightly.

“It’s fine,” Mare answered automatically. “I mean, I’m the one who should be sorry. I didn’t realize anyone was waiting-”

“I wasn’t,” Cal answered quickly, and Mare felt herself deflate at those words that seemed to hold so much meaning.

Seeing her face fall, Cal hurriedly corrected himself, “I mean, I wasn’t waiting for the bathroom. I was waiting for you.”

He was waiting for her. But that could mean anything, Mare scolded herself, as she felt her heartbeat accelerate. They were just words. They didn’t mean he had been waiting, didn’t mean he was still waiting.

Cal grabbed one of her hands in his and Mare felt warmer than she had in so long at his touch. She pulled her hand back quickly, missing the way Cal’s face fell before it formed into a determined mask.  

His touch was addicting, she hadn’t been prepared for how it would affect her.  How much she would yearn for more. How much she wanted it hotter, wanted to burn.

“I just- I was hoping- I wanted to ask…” Cal stammered awkwardly.  “Can we talk, Mare?”

Mare stared at him expectantly in the doorway and Cal flushed silver.

“I meant- can we go somewhere private?” Cal asked again. 

Mare felt a sudden sense of panic.  She wanted to talk to him, she did.  But at the same time, she wasn't ready.  She wasn't ready for everything that they had to say to each other, wasn’t ready to know what his answer was.

Mistaking her panic, Cal was quick to reassure her and put his hands in the air in a motion of innocence. 

“Just to talk, I promise,” Cal said carefully, before taking a deep breath.

Mare, on the other hand, didn’t dare to breathe.  The electricity pounding through her blood, she could feel it heavy in the air between them.

“Mare,” Cal started, his voice dropping, low and husky with emotion, “I just need you to know-

“Mare, are you coming?” a voice called from the hallway, interrupting the moment immediately and whatever Cal had been about to confess. 

Tyton’s white hair appeared over Cal’s shoulder and Mare instantly pulled away, severing the pull that had existed between the two of them.

Mare didn’t know if she was disappointed or relieved by the interruption.

"Yeah, give me one sec,” Mare called with a strained smile, before turning to Cal.  “Sorry, I gotta go.  But I’ll see you tomorrow? Maybe before the party, I can show you around and we can catch up.”

“I’m in meetings all day,” Cal answered, clearly disappointed.  “But maybe I can-”

“It’s fine,” Mare answered quickly.  “We can just talk there.  Or after. We’ll figure it out.”

“Right,” Cal said, a ghost of the crooked smile she had fallen in love with appearing.  “Save me a dance, then?”

Mare suddenly remembered the last time they had danced together and flushed.

“As long as you’re prepared to get your toes stepped on,” Mare said lightly, pushing away the memory that threatened to heat her blood.  “I’ll see you tomorrow, Cal.”

“Good-night,” Cal answered softly.

Mare couldn’t bear to meet his steady gaze and quickly headed down the hallway towards Tyton, not daring to look back.  Never seeing the powerful emotions that burned in his eyes, the ones that promised to engulf them both in their flames.

When they had finally arrived back at the Barrow residence, Mare had practically raced into the house and upstairs to the safety of her bedroom, needing to be alone with her thoughts.  Mare was vaguely aware of Tyton’s concern at her silence on the way home but had been too busy sorting her own thoughts to really do anything about it. 

She really was a terrible person.

Maybe it was better if Cal did find a new life with that Natalia girl, didn’t let her screw up his life even more.  If she really loved him, really cared about him, shouldn’t she want that for him?  She was broken, a murderer, someone who used people for what they could give her callously and then gave nothing in return.

M wasn’t just for Maven.  M was for Monster.  And for Mare.

Cal deserved more than that.  But the thought of him with another woman, his beautiful eyes burning with love for someone else…. It was too much to bear.

Because at the end of the day Mare wasn’t just a horrible person, she was also selfish.  And she wanted Cal more than she could ever admit to herself.  Needed him even.  

And she didn’t think she was strong enough to let him go.  

When Mare slept that night, she dreamed of the future. Cal with an elegant Silver lady and tiny perfect Silver children, dancing around him as he laughed happily. 

And her all alone, with only cold blue eyes for company.  Always watching, always mocking her.  

Anyone can betray anyone.