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Stolen Moments

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Carding her fingers through his hair, Aelin tugged until Fenrys knew she was irritated at him. 

“We’re going to be late because of you.”

Fenrys tried to throw a crooked grin back at his girlfriend but she yanked on his hair until he faced forward again. “Ow! That hurt, Ace. What did I ever do to you?”

Silent while she separated his hair into pieces, Aelin didn’t speak until she had started threading them together. “You’re making us late to a fancy dinner at which I am supposed to meet your parents, you idiot.” Her fingers flew, braiding his hair with a speed he still didn’t have.

“I think I’ll blame you, though. After all, it took you forever to do your own hair- OW!” Aelin tugged on his golden locks again for good measure and it stung, though he protested louder than necessary in the hopes that it would help soothe her. 

“Don’t tease me right now! I’m nervous enough as it is.” He heard the tremble in her voice but he waited to speak until she tied off the end of his braid. When she let it fall, he turned so that he was kneeling in front of her, between her legs with his hands framing her face. 

“They’re going to love you, Aelin. You don’t need to worry about that.”

Sighing, Aelin covered his hands with hers, wrapping her fingers around his wrists and leaning into him until their foreheads were pressed together. Her breaths slowed as she calmed herself with his warmth. “Are you sure, Fen? It took awhile for Connall to warm up to me and gods know I’m an absolute mess.”

“Yeah, but you’re my mess.” Aelin choked out a laugh and he grinned at her before he went on. “It takes Connall awhile to warm up to anyone - and you were actually a bit of a record for him. But my parents take after me, so they’ll love you at first sight. Just like I did.” 

When she opened her eyes, the turquoise and gold hues were bright with unshed tears. Fenrys pressed a soft kiss to her lips, lingering until the tears disappeared and his lips were smeared red. She shot him a much happier smile and she swiped at the lipstick with her thumb. 

Satisfied, Fenrys stood and caught her hands to pull her up against him. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he kept her close for a little longer, uncaring of the time that went by. Aelin was more important than meeting his parents on time. Besides, he’d take the blame, no matter what he told Aelin. 

Dropping a kiss on the bare skin of her shoulder, Fenrys finally pulled back. “Ready, love?”

Aelin nodded, her expression adorably determined. Fenrys fell in love with her a little more every time she wore that look. She was the one who tugged him towards the door, snatching her purse and twining their fingers together before she shot him a mischievous look over her shoulder. 

“By the way, the lipstick matches your hair.”

Confused, Fenrys patted at his braid. He caught a glimpse in their hallway mirror and saw that, despite her nerves and their time limit, she had still managed to weave a ribbon into his braid - red, of course. 

If she was trying to embarrass him, she had failed because it did look good on him - and he would have worn anything to hear her laugh like she was now. 

Chapter Text

Aelin knew she was squeezing Fenrys’ hand too tight but she couldn’t seem to loosen her grip. Thankfully, he didn’t mind and only squeezed her hand back.

They walked up the steps and into one of Aelin’s favorite restaurants. The Golden Staghorn was one of the fancy, but not too fancy, restaurants in town that served delicious steak and wonderful martinis. It was also the standard choice for their friends when it came to important meals.

Meeting the parents of the man she hoped to one day marry definitely counted as important.

When they reached the doors, she tugged Fenrys to the side. Bracing herself against him, she leaned in until their foreheads touched. “A kiss for luck?”

Fen laughed but he did press a sweet kiss to her lips, hand reaching up so he could brush his fingers against her cheek. Pulling back, he said, “You don’t need luck, Ace. You’ve got me.” He flashed his characteristic grin and started pulling her inside.

The maitre d showed them to their table, where the rest of their party awaited them. Connall was the first to see them, standing greet his twin and friend. He shot a small grin at Fenrys but he swept Aelin up into a tight hug. Gratefully, she relaxed into the gesture, thankful that Connall was here to help ease this meeting.

“No need to worry, Aelin. They’ll love you.” This was whispered in her ear before he pulled back and said more loudly, “Took you both long enough, I thought we were going to starve.”

Fenrys, who had been saying hello to his parents, reached over to cuff his twin on the shoulder. “Manners, Con.”

“Manners would be showing up on time.”

“What can I say? My beauty takes time.” Fenrys snuck a glance at Aelin, his dark eyes sparkling.

Finally, Aelin took a breath and faced the two new faces. Matiu and Pania Marama, parents of Fenrys and Connall. Visiting from Wendlyn to see their sons and to meet - her. Calm down, Aelin, you’ve faced down worse things than your boyfriend’s parents.

Letting a smile take her lips, Aelin extended a hand to Pania, the closer of the two. “It’s wonderful to meet you, Mrs. Marama, I-”

Pania used her grasp on Aelin’s hand to pull her into a hug even tighter than Connall’s had been. Shocked still, it took Aelin a second to realize that somehow Pania used the same perfume her own mother had. Orange blossoms and kingsflame and Aelin melted into the older woman’s arms. Staying there for probably several moments longer than was usual for a first meeting, neither woman pulled apart until Matiu cleared his throat.

“If you wouldn’t mind, my dear, I’d like to meet our young lady as well.” The teasing expression he wore was entirely reminiscent of Fenrys and Aelin could see the resemblance in every inch of his bronze skin and onyx eyes.

Aelin pulled away from Pania somewhat reluctantly but before she could decide whether to extend her hand again or go for a hug, he had pulled her into one. Briefer, but just as warm, Matiu pulled back to smile at her again. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Aelin.”

All her nerves gone, Aelin smiled back. She glanced over at Fenrys and caught the most tender look on his face. A blush rose to color her cheeks when he grabbed her hand to bring it to his lips. “Told you so.”

Flicking her finger against his chin, Aelin turned back to his parents. “It’s wonderful to meet the both of you. Fenrys and Connall have both said wonderful things.”

The two shared a look that spoke volumes, a sign of the years they had spent together. It was Pania who spoke. “Knowing our sons, they’ve complained about our nagging, too.”

The twins scoffed as Aelin laughed. Finally, they all took their seats around the table and settled in for the next couple hours. The food was fantastic and the company was better. Pania and Matiu, as they asked Aelin to call them, were full of the bright humor and mischief that Fenrys had inherited. That same humor lurked below the surface in Connall but Aelin saw hints of his thoughtfulness in Pania as well. Aelin’s heart ached as she felt the ghosts of her own parents, missing them with the same fierceness that she had ten years ago.

But her boyfriend drew her back, and his family accepted her easily into their conversations and lives. Matiu told stories of the twins competing and playing pranks on one another in their youth and Pania made pointed comments about marriage and grandchildren.

By the end of the night, Aelin had forgotten why she was nervous in the first place.