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morning theft

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It's the sunlight that wakes her.

Streaming in through open windows that maybe haven't been thoroughly cleaned since the last tenant, catching on dust motes, and spilling across the rumpled sheets. Prickling at the seam of her closed eyes. Maia had never pulled down the blinds last night. She'd been otherwise occupied.

She makes a rough little noise of complaint as she shifts away from the offending sunshine and into the very warm, very solid someone behind her. Still half-drowned in sleep, Maia's confused for the barest sliver of a second – it could be any morning or no morning, everything running together blearily – until she hears a deep groan and feels an arm tighten around her waist. She presses her lips together so she won't smile. She did a dumb thing last night.

"Oh no," Maia says. "It wasn't just a bad dream. You're actually here."

She can feel Jace smile against her shoulder before he teases, "You dream about me?"

Maia rolls her eyes and heaves a dramatic sigh before she brings her elbow back sharply. They're so enmeshed and so exhausted that it lacks her usual punch, but he's still bruised up enough from the day before to get the picture. She hopes. "You should be so lucky."

They'd kicked the quilt to the end of the bed at some point last night, but the poor tormented flat sheet is inexplicably tangled around waists and threaded through legs, doing very little besides getting in the way. The too-hot summer sun has made the bed warm as an oven, but a breeze slides in through the open window to offer some relief, flirting over their bare skin. It brings with it early morning chatter from the street below, smells of the city. Coffee. Pastries being prepared for glass cases. Trash, unfortunately. The hint of someone striking a match. Burnt and sweet and warm and filthy.

Last night they'd let the city lights in, colors patchwork over Jace's body as Maia straddled his hips: a blurry yellow glow shining in from other apartments, the multicolored neon flash of store signs. His blue-brown eyes on her face and his hands where Maia put them. Not a bad night, altogether.

Maia stretches like a satisfied cat at the thought, tiny stretches so she doesn't have to move much. Feet pointed, legs extended. Back arching in Jace's arms so that she's caught up against him, her shoulders pressing against his chest and stomach against his forearm. She mmm's a little as she does it and Jace makes the same sound in response but lower, his body curving around her. His legs come up slightly to keep her nestled against him, both of them fitting together like puzzle pieces. She's sore, the ache pleasant in her thighs and arms. How many times last night? Maia lost count.

"Did you think I'd be gone?" Jace wonders belatedly, sounding genuinely curious.

Maia refuses to open herself up to this line of questioning. "It's too early for me to have to listen to you talk." She closes her eyes, snuggling down into Jace and the pillows. "I need coffee for that. Or booze. You know what, definitely booze."

His laugh is so soft it's almost an exhale. "Too early for that, too." His hand coasts up over her stomach and sternum, lazily cups her breast. "I don't think it's even eight."

Maia reaches back to place a quieting finger to his lips. "Then figure it out, pretty boy."

Jace noses into her hair and presses a kiss right behind her ear. His knuckles run back and forth over her nipple until it hardens. "Aww," he coos. "You think I'm pretty."

His other arm shifts beneath her so he can tuck his hand between her legs. Maia's thighs clench but he's not even doing anything yet; he's just touching her, light and comfortable, as casual as someone can be with their hand on your pussy. "Looks," she breathes, "aren't everything."

She readjusts, legs parting just enough to let his fingers slide against her with a little more purpose. But there's no rush, no hurry, only the steadiness of Jace touching her where she wants to be touched. Maia can feel the heat building inside her, the pulse of warmth spreading from where his fingers are gently, slowly moving over her. Her body is so boneless, sun-drenched and well-fucked, that everything feels like swallowing honey. She's aching for him.

Jace keeps snuffling around for more of her skin to put his mouth on, trying to kiss her collarbone from behind and failing, his hair tickling her cheek. "It was good, though," he says. "Last night. Wasn't it?"

Maia has that dream feeling, the one where you jolt awake at the edge of a precipice before you can fall. But she hasn't fallen yet. She's still just teetering there, swaying into it as her hips roll leisurely against Jace's hand. He's hard. She can feel it.

"If you're looking for an ego fluffer, you're gonna have to get fluffed elsewhere," Maia tells him. But then his fingers move just right, electricity sparking, and she lets out a ragged, unintentional moan that she regrets as soon as it leaves her lips. "Do not get smug."

She can feel Jace smile against her skin and she knows exactly what it looks like without having to look: startlingly easy and missing all his usual artifice, the honest smile she can extract from him with snark. "Wouldn't dream of it," he says.

"Oh please." He's got two fingers inside her now. Maia's head tosses back, cradled by Jace's shoulder. "It's practically your middle name."

"Mhm." He kisses her the curve of her jaw. "Jonathan Christopher Smug Wayland Morgenstern Herondale."

"Jonathan Christopher?" she repeats, then, "Never mind, run that by me again one day if I ever care."

He hasn't picked up the pace at all but the persistence of his slow teasing has built up gradually until Maia can feel her legs shaking as she tries to hold back. She traces over his knuckles and slick fingertips, stills his hand. She wants it like this, feeling his warmth from the nape of her neck to her curling toes, so she reaches back to wrap a hand around him.

She knows now that Jace makes the same soft sounds no matter how she touches him, rough or gentle. He's breathless for her.

Maia peers back at him and raises an inquisitive eyebrow; Jace nods before he tips her face back farther for a halfway kiss. Then he envelops her in his arms again, gathers her against his chest, and eases inside of her. She hisses a little, sore there too, but it's the good kind, swollen and tender, pleasure hidden in it.

"Slow," Maia tells him. Last night had been of the harder-and-faster variety. "Okay? Slow."

Jace murmurs assent and kisses her shoulder, takes his time. After a while Maia doesn't know if she'll come or if she even cares about coming. This is so much better: this slow, honeyed heat, the way they move together. She's too caught up in that plateau sweetness that always feels like it might never end, like she can float on the feeling until it takes her out to sea.

It's like that dream. Rolling right over the edge.