I will never forgive SJ Maas for not making Manon x Elide canon. So here's this.
"Where are you going, my lady?" Asterin inquired, unlacing the saddle from her wyvern. She and her Wing Leader stood in the forest clearing where all of the beasts lay at rest. Dusk had already begun to settle into the sky. The remnants of sunlight speared up through the clouds in rays of orange and violet.
"It has been a long while since I've had a taste of humans," Manon stated, leaning against a tree. She flicked out her iron nails, examining them in the dimming light.
"I see," Asterin smirked. "So I take it you will be enjoying a man or two tonight?"
"Something like that." Boredom laced Manon's voice. "Do not expect my return until morning."
Elide ran the comb gently through her hair, easing the knots from her raven locks. She gazed at her reflection in the mirror, straightening her robes. Her fingers shook. The window on the other side of the bedroom was ajar, letting the cool night wind breathe through.
Aelin had scheduled a meeting with her court, along with Manon and the Thirteen for tomorrow morning, but Elide's mind was far from politics and war plans. Blood thrummed through her veins, her entire body abuzz with energy.
A shadow flickered near the window, followed by a flash of crimson. Elide's heart jumped as Manon Blackbeak slipped through the billowing curtains, her silver braid cascading like a waterfall down her back.
Elide's dark eyes met Manon's pools of molten gold. The corners of the witch's lips curved up slightly.
"Good evening, witchling."
Elide couldn't resist. She made it across the room in three steps to where Manon stood near the window, and threw her arms around the Wing Leader. Manon responded in turn, her slender fingers scraping across Elide's back as she embraced her.
"I've missed you," Elide whispered against Manon's pale throat. "I know we see each other every day, but we hardly ever have time to be alone."
Manon clutched Elide closer, closing her eyes and breathing in her scent. "Let us make the most of tonight."
When the two finally released each other, Elide pulled Manon's red cloak from where it had been haphazardly draped, and wrapped it around her naked body. She eased herself back onto the pillows, propping her head upon her elbow to watch Manon.
The silver-haired beauty was standing, digging around the piles of flying leathers, armor, and weapons discarded all over the floor. Her alabaster skin shone in the moonlight, scars glinting. Manon found her midnight robes and slacks, slipped into them, and then sat back down upon Elide's bed. The two women smiled warmly at one another, and slipped under the covers, their bodies huddling close.
They talked about anything and everything. Manon told Elide all about what had been going on with the war efforts, the progression of Erawan's army, and the status of Aelin's allies. Elide asked questions about strategies and war plans, all of which Manon explained as best she could.
When their conversation lulled, Elide hopped up and hoisted a pile of books from the bedside table with no small amount of excitement. She clambered back to where Manon lounged, deposited the stack, and opened up the books to where they had left off. "I've been practicing when I can," Elide beamed, and Manon fought against a grin.
She spent the next hour reading to Elide, hearing Elide read, and helping Elide practice her writing. The young woman was highly intelligent, and picked up on phonetics more rapidly than Manon could have ever imagined.
Elide never failed to amaze Manon each and every single day.
When at last Elide's eyes had tired, and she could no longer focus on one sentence, Manon closed the books, stacked up all the papers, and set them to the side. When she looked back, Elide was sitting on the bed, staring at her intently.
"What is it?" Manon instantly noted the way the Elide wrung her hands together, and the way her shoulders stiffened. Manon turned her body to fully face the girl, sitting cross-legged on the bed.
"I forgot to ask you…" Elide started, then hesitated. "What did you tell the Thirteen before coming here? Won't they be curious of your whereabouts?"
Manon sensed the question behind the question, and her eyes softened. "I told Asterin that I was…going into town for the night. And that I should not be expected to return until the next day, for Aelin's meeting."
Elide's laugh came out tight. "I see."
"What is the matter?" Manon asked, fully knowing the answer.
The dark-haired woman averted her eyes from Manon. Manon couldn't resist reaching over and sliding her hand onto Elide's. Elide's fingers were warm, and Manon squeezed gently, urging her to get her thoughts out.
"Why is it…?" Elide sighed. "Why is it that we must hide our relationship from our friends and allies?"
Manon let out a small breath. "You know why." She stretched out her other hand and tucked back a strand of Elide's hair. "I am a Crochan queen, and also an Ironteeth witch. I must return to the Wastes." Manon's fingers lingered, trailing down Elide's cheek. "You are a Lady of Terrasen. You belong to Aelin's court. Our duties and loyalties lie in different places."
"But I am loyal to you," Elide insisted.
"You are loyal to Aelin, as you should be." Manon pressed her lips together in bittersweet understanding. "I would never ask you to abandon your home country or your people."
And Elide knew that she could never ask the same of Manon.
"Hey," Elide gripped both of Manon's shoulders, pulling her closer. "I'm not going to lie to you. I have no idea what's going to happen to us after the war, after we survive." Elide swallowed, choking back the uncertainty that had been gradually smothering her for the past few months. "…I don't know how we're going to see each other as often after we return to our lands."
Manon's jaw clenched.
"But…" Elide continued, reaching up to cup Manon's face. "I know one thing for sure. You will always be very dear to me."
"And you to me," Manon replied, barely a whisper.
Elide gave her a weak smile. "We will find a way," she said firmly, wrapping her arms around Manon's neck.
Manon nodded once, clutching Elide to her body. "We will."
I might write some more scenes of them, not sure yet. Let me know what you thought of this!