Sweeter Than Honey
Irri had not seemed long gone when a light rap at the cabin door roused Dany from her silent musings. Or perhaps more time had passed than she'd known. Her eyes had opened at the knock, she was now recumbent upon the narrow bunk where before she'd reclined, and she could not recall the last thought she'd had prior to the knock. And there it was again, louder this time. She must have dozed.
"Come," she said through a yawn, and she scarcely had time to push herself up on one elbow when the door creaked open on its hinges and Ser Jorah Mormont ducked through.
Dany drew in her breath sharply at the sight of him, and sat fully upright. "Ser, I--"
"Would not have bid me enter if you'd known it was me?" A smirk played at the corners of his lips. The lips that had been so surprisingly sweet against her own.
Dany did not want to think about Ser Jorah's lips.
"No," she replied, lifting her chin as if doing so would give her presence from her position so far below him on her bed. "I would not. You have displeased me."
She was not certain whether she meant for bringing her to the stinking sty of Astapor, as she had told him earlier, or for kissing her while they were yet at sea. Since the latter, she had taken such care not to be alone with him. She ought to call for her maids, or even for her bloodriders. But her lips and tongue were not, it seemed, in accord with her brain.
"Aye. So you told me. In word and deed."
Jorah stepped farther into the cabin, nudging the door shut with his foot. If he intended to make amends, which he plainly did, Dany thought, noting the cloth covered platter in his hands, he might have at least pretended humility--though she supposed that was a bit much to ask from a man who sheathed his greatsword in a scabbard of peacock feathers. Her gaze was not on that, however, but upon the darkened ridge of his cheekbone, cast into relief by the light of the lanterns.
How was it that her knight had the power to make her feel guilty when he was the one clearly in the wrong? Even her defiant thoughts could not stop her from making apology to him.
"I should not have slapped you, ser. That was ill done."
Just as she swung her feet to the floor, the ship lurched on the swell of the tide rolling in to the harbor where they moored; in a swift movement, Jorah shifted the plate to one hand as the other shot out to steady her by the elbow as she stood. His touch was like a flash of lightning, dangerous, and yet strangely compelling; perhaps because she was Stormborn. She watched the distinctly masculine roll of his throat above the collar of his quilted tunic as she raised her own hand--Did he brace himself for another slap? If so, good--and brushed her fingertips lightly across the bruise she had given him.
"Does it pain you?"
"A deal less than the thought of having lost your favor, my queen."
He did fear it, truly, Dany realized; his eyes told her so. The look in them took her back to the night he had begged her not to join Drogo upon his funeral pyre. She hadn't known then that he spoke not only out of the love a knight bore his queen, but out of the love a man bore a woman. If she had, would she still have stretched up on her toes and kissed him softly upon his lips? She knew it now, and it did not stop her from drawing his head down so that she could touch hers to the imprint her hand had made upon his cheek.
"Never, my good knight."
Her lips lingered against his skin as she enjoyed, in spite of herself, the not unpleasant scratch of his beard against her cheek. It made her remember the contrasting sensation of it with his supple lips when he had kissed her; his strong, callused fingertips still gripped her elbow, tightening slightly around her.
"You did well today," she told him, "guarding my people and my dragons while I dealt with the slavers. Now. What have you brought me?"
She drew back from him, and though disappointment flickered plainly in his eyes at the loss of contact with her, Jorah looked pleased with himself as he with uncovered the platter to reveal his offering: oatcakes, which looked to have been freshly baked, and a pot of honey.
"You missed supper," he said. "Whitebeard said you were no doubt sickened by what you had seen in the slave market." His tone had turned briefly bitter as he spoke the aged squire's nickname, but turned pleasant again as he went on, "But I thought something light would do you good, after being all afternoon in the heat."
Dany had been light-headed during her meeting with the Good Master Kraznys mo Nakloz, and she was certain the heat had contributed to the feeling. She tried to look approvingly at his offering, but she had to force the smile; the deepening lines etched on Jorah's face told her he saw her strain.
"Honey," she said, her voice falling flat. "I thank you, ser, but in truth, I am not sure I shall ever have the stomach for it again. Kraznys offered to let me lick honey from his breasts. Or he would do me the pleasure, if I preferred."
Jorah's lips went white as the knuckles that gripped the platter as he asked, "I hope Whitebeard defended his queen's honor as I would have."
"You would have had the slaver's filthy tongue for such insolence," Dany said, skirting the always divisive subject of Arstan Whitebeard altogether. She prized the plate from Jorah's hands, lest he break it in twain with his grasp. "Or hewn off his entire head, to ensure he did not so much as have another disrespectful thought about me. And then who would sell me the army I require for my conquest?"
He was so fiercely protective, her bear--though not, as she had once supposed, like a bear protective of his cub, but rather of his mate. It brought to mind Drogo's fury over the wine merchant's attempt on her life, which had unleashed a Dothraki army.
At the rattle of the honey pot on the plate, she turned her back suddenly on Jorah, lest he notice that her hands trembled with the realization that she wanted to feel safe and loved, and her knight made her feel both. In ways her husband had not done until well into their marriage. And perhaps Jorah's kiss had affected her the way it had because she--
"Anyway," she said, too loudly, to silence the thoughts she wished she would not have or was afraid he might somehow overhear, "I had but little time to think of the vulgarities Kraznys spoke about me. He invited me to join him at the fighting pits to see three small boys matched against a bear. One of the children would be rolled in honey."
As she spoke, she unthinkingly dipped her finger into the honey pot, but she stopped just short of her lips, its odor suddenly cloying to her in the context of her story. It drizzled from her finger down her chin and onto her collarbones, and a loose strand of her hair got stuck in it, but she hardly thought of it for the macabre images that danced through her mind.
"I daresay you nearly had Kraznys' head for that," said Jorah, "knowing the heart my queen has for those poor souls too weak to defend themselves from the hands of such masters."
"I have a gentle heart, or so you said in Lhazar. But I was not gentle today." Dany turned to face him again, though she was too ashamed to meet his eyes. "The only souls I thought of were the Unsullied, and all I said of bears was that one waited for me upon my ship, who would eat me if I did not return to him."
Jorah let out a short laugh. "Your bear's more like to eat you when you do return to him."
The knight's eyes darkened with lust as his gaze dropped to her breasts, which, though covered by the painted leather vest she'd chosen to wear to the slave markets to strengthen her ruse of speaking to the Good Master only in Dothraki through an interpreter, felt as naked as the night Jorah had kissed her. Her mouth opened in a silent oh as she realized she must have, in her naïveté, stumbled onto a bit of innuendo which she did not fully understand. Heat flooded her cheeks, but not because his evident desire for her coupled with his coarse remark to make her want to hide from him, as she had the last time he'd confronted her with the truth of his feelings; rather, because he'd once again stirred up whatever it was in her had made her return his kiss then.
Though Dany had balked at Irri's offer to help her relieve her tensions in bed, because she would not trespass upon the obligations the handmaid felt toward her mistress, surely it would not be wrong to take advantage of Jorah's willingness. He was, after all, old enough to look after himself.
Whether he was wise enough, given his history with women, was another matter entirely.
"I see you remain undaunted in your pursuit of me, ser, though I've given you little encouragement."
She had not spoken ungently--she hadn't meant to, at least--but he closed his mouth and glanced away, for a moment looking as discomposed as ever Dany had seen him. She was not entirely sure of herself, either, even as she closed the gap between them, her skirt whispering against his breeches, and pressed her mouth to his, which opened again in surprise. For an instant she considered drawing back, his hesitation making her doubt her own wisdom in following this path, but she forged ahead. She swept her tongue into his open mouth, feeling the light rake of his teeth across it, followed by the thick, warm friction of his tongue sliding against her own. His hands settled in the curves of her waist, the calluses rough against the skin left bare between the bottom of her vest and the top of her low-slung skirt, and drew her hips flush against his so that his manhood stiffened against her.
But then, as if he'd recovered from the blow of an opponent's weapon that had caught him off his guard, Jorah pulled his lips from hers, and his hands pushed her slightly back from him. When he answered the question she'd put to him before the kiss, he spoke in the familiar tone that was as bold and steady as if he were telling her what he knew of whatever people or city she newly encountered.
"I love you, Daenerys. My queen. And once I have given my heart, I do not take it back."
"You must have taken it back from your lady wife Lynesse, if you now have a heart to give me."
It was a cruel thing to say, and Jorah looked more pained by it than by the physical blow she'd dealt which marred his cheek. But as Dany was not, at this moment, prepared to take him body and heart, and was determined to have the pleasure of him she had declined from Irri--and, by the gods, she was his queen!--she felt it necessary to place some boundary between them.
"I took nothing from Lynesse but that she did not fling at my feet," he said, his voice quavering as a measure of his control slipped. "I am free to give my heart to whom I will--"
Dany could not but respond to the passion he exuded, and she pressed her forefinger to his mouth. "I can think of better tasks for your tongue than talking to me of your heart."
Jorah's lips just parted, and his tongue darted out against the tip of her finger. "You taste of honey, Khaleesi," he said, and then his eyes closed in bliss as he sucked her finger into his mouth.
"Bears like honey," she murmured, weaving the fingers of her free hand into the soft, thinning hair at the back of his head, withdrawing her finger slowly from his mouth as she guided his face down to her chest, where the honey had dribbled from her finger onto her skin. "I would hate for mine to go hungry."
With a groan, he trailed kisses across her collarbones, lingering in the valley between them to lick away the honey before making his way up to the trail of it to her chin.
"There is a song in the Seven Kingdoms," he said between kisses.
"The Bear and the Maiden Fair."
Jorah lifted his head, regarding her from beneath an arched eyebrow. "You know it?"
"The words are in one of the books you gave me."
"It's more tavern bawdy than song," he said with the hint of a scowl, "and I like it no better than any other man of House Mormont who has heard it sung in mockery when we take brides." He lowered his head once more to kiss his way back down her throat and chest, his large hands once again encircling her waist. "But I'd gladly suffer to be serenaded with it as I lick the honey from your hair, my maiden fair."
"I am no maiden," Dany reminded him. "I was wife to the greatest Dothraki khal who ever lived."
He peered up at her again, his lips hovering a hair's breadth over the swell of her breast at the neckline of her vest. "Then you know that what you ask of me invites considerably more than kisses on your lips? Or even your breasts?"
Dany swallowed. She did now. Of a sort.
Schooling the creeping flush that prickled beneath her cheeks not to betray her, she covered his large hands with her small ones and drew them up to the laces of her vest. At her encouragement, Jorah did not hesitate to release her breasts from their leather confines as he pushed the garment down over her shoulders so it could slip to the floor, leaving her to stand half-naked before him as she had the night he kissed her. Unlike that other time, Jorah caressed her breasts not only with his eyes, but cupped them in his hands, gently squeezing them and teasing her nipples with his thumbs until they hardened and tingled with a desire that left her almost too breathless to speak.
"Bed," she managed to gasp, though Jorah nearly swallowed the word as he claimed her lips once more.
It was enough; without breaking their kiss, Jorah guided her backward, mumbling an apology when he bumping her into one of the chairs around the captain's table. When the backs of her legs connected with the edge of the bunk, he gently pushed her to sit upon the lumpy feather mattress. Dany started to draw her legs up onto it so that she might lie back, clutching at his doublet to pull him down atop her, suddenly desperate for the warm weight of him above her.
But Jorah dropped to kneel before her on the roughened floorboards of the cabin, positioning himself between her legs as he tugged her skirt down over her hips. She wore no smallclothes, for the Dothraki did not, and when he had divested her of the skirt he had her naked. His eyes raked over her body, and she flushed from head to toe at how obviously pleased he was by her. Then, he bowed his head and pressed his lips to the inside of first one knee, and then the other, the wetness of his mouth blazing a warm trail up the insides of her thighs.
Dany's heart and stomach fluttered as wildly within her as her dragons beat their wings against the bars of their cage. She had thought she understood what Jorah had in mind for her, but she hadn't, at all, she realized, until his mouth moved over skin that grew ever more sensitive as he neared the place between her legs. Her muscles clenched in anticipation as his beard scratched over the soft skin of her thigh. She glimpsed her own curling blonde hairs brush his cheek, and after that the lantern swaying from its chain in the wood paneled ceiling as her head fell back when he nuzzled at her folds and his tongue swept, slowly, over her sex.
"It pleases the queen to feed her bear?" he asked, his voice a low rasp.
At first Dany could only nod her reply, Jorah's breath and the rumble of his words prolonging the waves of sensation his tongue had sent through her. But then she looked at him, and the image of her knight in so humble a position before her, giving her this new understanding of the notion of serving at her pleasure, gave her a jolt that was nearly as strong. Drogo had let her ride him, an uncharacteristically passive act for a Dothraki man, least of all a khal of his prowess, yet he'd never truly submitted to her in bed. Not like this. She thought of the other time Jorah had knelt before her nakedness and pledged himself to her, blood of his blood. Her eyes glanced to the sword belt still buckled around his waist, the peacock feather scabbard at his side, and she wondered if it could really be right to ask such service from this man.
She stretched out her hand and touched her cheek, drawing his head up from her groin. "But does it please my bear? Even a queen cannot taste of honey everywhere."
"Sweeter than honey," Jorah said, and lowered his head to taste her again.
Dany could not but take him at his word as his tongue swept over her and he made a low sound deep in his throat that could only signify that he enjoyed the task to which he had set himself. So she allowed herself to enjoy it, too, without compunction--though enjoy was, perhaps, too mild a word for what she felt at his hands. Or rather, at his lips and tongue, which found her secret places and worked out their mysteries more capably and confidently than even Irri's nimble fingers had done. Had Irri ever contemplated pleasuring her like this?
For her part, Dany's inhibitions about responding to such touches--for Irri had brought her release, but also shame--slipped away along with any illusion she had of being in control of her body in this situation. She bucked against his mouth, the better to find her release, and Jorah slid his hands down from where they had rested on her thighs, slipping his fingers beneath her arse, pulling her harder against him as he buried his face in her mound. She made no attempt at stifling the cries that filled the cabin; "My queen," he murmured against her, and she screamed like the khaleesi, or dragon queen she was, then fell back against the paneled wall, carried on the current of pleasure he had put into motion within her.
It was true enough that she had not come into this moment a maiden, but she may as well have done, for all she'd had no notion that a man could make her feel the things Jorah had made her feel. Or perhaps she had known it, somewhere within her, and that was why she hadn't been able to forget about his kiss. Or why she hadn't resisted him to start with.
When she had caught her breath enough to speak, she sat up and found Jorah watching her intently. His mouth curved in one of his rare smiles, and heat prickled over every inch of Dany's skin when she realized that the substance which shone slightly on his lips was her own wetness.
"Arise, sweet ser," she said, and he obeyed, gasping in surprise as she reached for his sword belt and undid the buckle. His long sword clattered to the floor as she unbuckled his dagger, by which time he had recovered himself enough to speak.
"Daenerys…my queen…you do not have to--"
"Reward my good knight for his service?" She stood and set to work on the laces of his doublet. "I know I do not have to. I do what I want to."
At this pronouncement, Jorah lost no time assisting her with the removal of his clothing.
"Why do knights wear so many layers?" she teased him, and he chuckled.
"The better to conceal their love for their queens."
"I don't wish you to conceal anything from me now."
He peeled off the shirt as she unlaced his breeches, freeing his hardened manhood. Dany considered it, for a moment thinking she might take him into her mouth; she knew women sometimes pleasured their men in this way. But though her bear had dined, Dany's appetite had only grown with the taste of the pleasure he could give her.
Kissing him, she drew him down onto the bed with her. He'd been kind when he said that she tasted like honey, but she remembered what it was to have a man's nude body entwined with her own, his arms strong around her but his hands caressing her face, her breasts, her belly with such delicacy, the mixture of rough and smooth that was his skin, his beard prickling her face and breasts as he kissed her, while the finer hairs on his chest and thighs tickled her as their limbs tangled together on the narrow bunk.
And, of course, the firmness of his cock pressed against her. But Dany did not want it merely against her. She wanted it, him, inside her. Taking hold of it, she positioned him in front of her wet opening, swinging one leg over him to mount him as she was accustomed. But before she could, Jorah's hands flew from her breasts to her hips, holding her firmly where she lay.
"Please, Dany," he panted.
She hesitated at the idea of him dominating her. She was Jorah's queen, after all, and even if she were to make him her husband as he had asked--not that she was at all sure she wanted to--he would never be her king. But she considered how he had already submitted to her in love, on his knees…It only seemed right to give him his way in this.
"Yes," she whispered.
Jorah rolled her onto her back and positioned himself, his muscular arms sheltering her on either side, his strong body above, and Dany knew it was right for an entirely different reason. This was who they were: he her protector, who did so not out of duty but out of love, she his queen upon whom he would bestow everything.
Ready as she was for him, when he pushed himself inside her, she had to bite her lip against a cry not of pleasure, but of pain. It wasn't quite like when Drogo had her maidenhead, she didn't think, more like that it had been so long that she'd been loved by a man that she must learn it over again; and she'd birthed a babe since then, as well. For some time he made no attempt at plunging deeper within, holding himself where he was, allowing her to accustom herself to the feel of his cock buried within her until his arms began to tremble with his own weight.
Dany held her breath, then spread her thighs a little further apart, wrapping her legs about his waist until he slipped in easily the rest of the way. She glanced down between her breasts at their joined bodies, her patch of pale curls tangling with his darker pubic hair, and then back up again to look into his eyes as she bucked her hips up against him, urging him into motion.
By motion, Dany expected him to pump in and out of her a few times, or for a few minutes, if he desired to prolong his release, with ever increasing speed. That was how it had been with Drogo. When Jorah withdrew, it was so slowly, so that his length stroked her sex as attentively his tongue had; and when he returned, it was with a long roll of his hips down into hers that made her clench around him, setting off a ripple sensation from her core.
She could have come apart then and there, but Jorah gazed down into her eyes and said, "Stay with me, Dany…my queen."
And as she had trusted him to lead her across the Red Waste, and in Qarth, and now through Slaver's Bay and onward to Westeros, she trusted him to guide her in bed.
Eventually, when Dany wasn't sure she could hold herself together for him any longer, Jorah fell into that quick, desperate sort of rhythm she had anticipated in the beginning. His strokes became harder, deeper, his skin slapping against hers as he thrust into her. Dany's arms stretched down at her sides, reaching beneath her splayed legs so that her hands held his arse, holding him firmly within her, helping drive him toward his release--and hers. As she--finally--felt his control slipping, she gave herself over, too, loving that the act of love could be shared in this way, loving the weight of him upon her as he collapsed, heaving, in her arms.
Jorah stayed within her for a long time, until he had caught his breath, and after; when he did withdraw, Dany at once missed feeling him inside, even though he had become flaccid. But he settled beside her in the bunk, pulling the crumpled blanket up over them as they embraced again beneath it, and kissed, soft and slow and sweet. Like honey.
He placed one upon the tip of her nose and cradled her face in his hands, scuffing her cheekbone with his thumb. "I hope my queen is no longer displeased with me?"
A haze seemed to clear from Dany's eyes, then, and she noticed his bruised cheek. She remembered that her hand had been the one to strike him, and the reason why she had done it.
Nothing had changed. She still faced her dilemma of whether to buy her army of Unsullied--of slaves--and she still wondered whether she ought to follow the leading of a man who was only here, with her, because he was himself guilty of the deplorable crime of slavery.
Though not here, because of that. In loving her, Ser Jorah Mormont risked all. He was here for love.
Three treasons you will know. Once for blood and once for gold and once for love.
Dany banished the voices of the Undying, and nestled herself more securely in Jorah's embrace. She preferred to remember his voice uttering promises to her.I tell you truly, Daenerys, there is no man in all the world who will ever be half so true to you as me.
"Not displeased," she murmured, pressing a kiss to his chest. "Not for now, and never in my bed."
His soft hair tickled her lips, and tasted faintly of sweat. But to Dany, it was sweeter than honey.
A/N: And to authors, comments are sweeter than honey. ;)