Nesta turned over in bed, still awake hours after climbing underneath the covers. It had been a long day of dealing with the worst denizens of the Court of Nightmares, helping Azriel torture them while their queen looked on. Her and her wife had collapsed into bed together once their work was done, falling asleep in their underwear, too tired to put on pajamas. And even though the moon had long since risen over Velaris, her brain would rather think about chocolate cake than sleep.
She sat up with a groan and blinked her eyes in the starlight coming in through the window. Maybe she should admit defeat, bother Cassian into taking her down to Velaris to wile away the night…
Mor’s arms wrapped lazily around her waist, tugging at her until Nesta glanced over. “Hello, moonbeam.”
Nesta brushed a strand of hair from Mor’s face, appreciating her sleepy smile, her soft eyes, the way the sheets and her pink lace underwear only partially covered her mostly-naked body. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”
She captured Nesta’s hand, pressing a kiss to the middle of her palm. “I was having a dream where Rhys and Cassian and Az were singing and dancing about chocolate cake. I think it’s better that you did.”
Nesta gave a sheepish smile. “That’s my fault too. I started craving chocolate cake hours ago and it’s keeping me up.”
“Well, if you’re craving chocolate cake and neither of us can sleep anyway, why don’t we bake?” Mor said.
Nesta shook her head, smiling, and didn’t protest when her mate pulled her out of bed.
“Do you even know how to make a cake?” Nesta realized as Mor put various packages on the kitchen counter.
“Mmhm,” she said her normal cheeriness dampened by sleep. “We used to do family dinner nights where we cooked the whole meal together, from appetizer to dessert. The thought was always to give the staff off for a night, to do the chores ourselves, but we normally just ended up eating things as they became ready.”
“That sounds… fun,” Nesta said. “Why don’t you do them anymore?”
“We stopped when Rhys-when he had to go. And then he came back, and there was a war coming and we were all still healing from his time gone, and-we never picked it back up.”
Nesta considered that for a second as Mor washed her hands. “Maybe it’s time to bring it back,” she said. “Assuming you can make a cake.”
Mor flicked her with water from her still damp hands, laughing when Nesta hissed. “We’re making the cake. So wash up and start melting this chocolate.”
Nesta did as she was told, pressing a quick kiss to Mor’s lips as she passed to remind her wife who was in charge.
“Wait,” Nesta said, halfway through breaking the chocolate bars. “Why bother making chocolate cake when we can just eat the chocolate?”
Nesta popped a square of chocolate in her mouth, and spit it back out a second later. “What the fuck is wrong with this chocolate?”
Mor laughed. “It’s baking chocolate. You have to add sugar to it.”
Nesta looked at her wife, somewhere between horrified and angered. “Why would someone intentionally make chocolate that doesn’t taste good. ”
“It gives you more control in your baking, to decide how sweet you want whatever you’re making,” she explained.
“It’s ridiculous, ” Nesta said, deeply betrayed.
“It’s why we’re making the cake and not just eating the chocolate,” Mor said, still smiling.
Nesta stopped working the chocolate to watch her mate, the way she seemed softer here, with only the two of them awake. For once the walls she kept up, so bright and powerful like sunlight, so that no one could even see they were meant to keep them out—for once they were down. There was a streak of flour on her cheek that matched the brightness of her hair, the curls rumpled instead of falling in perfect ringlets. It was the Mor that only she ever saw, and even then, it was rare.
“You’re staring,” Mor said, but the words were only just teasing. Nesta didn’t doubt she had felt everything she had been thinking through the bond.
“You like it when I do,” Nesta said, matching her tone.
“I like what it means, more,” she said, love radiating through their bond, and Nesta decided that this Mor, with her hands in the bowl of batter, shining like sunlight not in self-protection but in boundless love—she wanted to see her more.
Somehow, they managed to get the chocolate melted and the batter mixed and the cake in the oven before ending up with Nesta sitting on the counter and Mor standing between her legs, the leftover batter in a bowl between them.
Nesta scooped up her fourth fingerful of batter as Mor took her fifth, and they both licked off the batter at the same time with matching “mmmm”s. Nesta laughed and Mor giggled, drunk on sugar and lack of sleep and the other’s presence. They were still smiling as they leaned over the bowl between Nesta's legs and kissed, all teeth and laughter, Mor's hands spread on Nesta's thighs. They only pulled back, flushed and breathless, when the timer for the cake went off.
Neither of them moved for the oven, instead watching each other in the dim light.
"We could make frosting to go with it," Mor suggested, and Nesta nodded eagerly. Anything to keep us here, in this moment, a little while longer.
Mor was the one to pull the cake from the oven and all the ingredients and materials for frosting from the cupboards so Nesta wouldn't have to move from her perch. It was only logical; she was the one who knew what they needed for the frosting anyway, and the kitchen was small enough that the two of them moving around at once would lead to them bumping into each other. It had nothing to do with the fact that Mor could feel Nesta's eyes tracing over her hips and ass when she bent down to pull out the confectioner's sugar.
They were working more closely together this time, the frosting needing only one bowl as opposed to the many they had used for the cake. Mor switched out the empty batter bowl in Nesta's lap for a clean one, and unwrapped the butter while Nesta opened the container of cocoa powder. She jabbed the tablespoon measure in, and brown powder exploded over the counter and Nesta.
She blinked at Mor, offended. "You'd think for all I love chocolate, it would be a little bit nicer to me."
Mor did her best to force down the laugh threatening to bubble out of her, and instead gave a sympathetic nod.
Between the two of them, the frosting was done quickly. Mor reached for some of the finished product, but Nesta caught her wrist.
"Oh no," Nesta said. "I've learned my lesson. You only get that once it's on the cake." She moved the bowl to the opposite side, where Mor wouldn't be able to reach without going around her first. Nesta motioned for the cake where it was still sitting on the opposite counter.
Mor didn't move. "We can't frost the cake yet; it's still hot. If we try now, the frosting will melt right off."
Nesta frowned. "How long until it'll be cooled?"
"An hour at least."
Why does baking have to take so long? "We’re going to have to find something to pass the time."
Mor smiled in a way that made Nesta's breath catch. "I can think of something."
That was Nesta's only warning before Mor's hand was under her black shift, parting Nesta's thighs with only a touch, her finger against her clit.
Fuck, it felt good. Nesta hadn't been planning on sex tonight, but she didn't know now how she couldn't have, with her mate standing there in that pink lace ensemble that only barely covered her, smiling like a vixen. The suddenness of the action only intensified Nesta’s desire, and she moved her hips against Mor's hand in encouragement.
Mor stopped the motion of her fingers in the same moment, and Nesta whined, but Mor immediately moved to catch and spread her slick, and the whine changed to a moan when she hooked a finger inside Nesta, giving only a single pump before pulling back out.
"Mor-" Nesta gasped. "Fuck, Mor, if I had known you were going to fuck me like this we could have skipped the cake altogether-"
Mor captured her words with a kiss. "And if I had known you would have looked so hot sitting on a counter in nothing but your underwear, I would have taught you baking sooner." She pressed a thumb against her clit to emphasize her words.
Nesta moaned again, and Mor's movements started anew, a finger inside her and another against her clit, her tongue and teeth against her neck. It was too much, all at once, and Nesta was powerless to do anything but fist her hands in Mor's curls and move her hips in time with Mor's fingers.
This female before her, this queen who had fought for years to be no one's but her own—she was Nesta's, too. And even with everything she had done for her freedom—she was willing to share it, if the person she was sharing it with was Nesta.
Even through her lust, Nesta pushed that emotion through past their fallen shields, down the bond. I love you, I love you, I love you, it pulsed, and Mor snapped her head up from Nesta's neck to make eye contact, her fingers stilling.
And even as her body begged for more, they watched each other, both breathless but barely breathing.
"I love you," Mor said, quietly, gently.
Nesta didn't say it back. Mor knew better than to expect she would. Nesta's love showed itself in other ways; through the softness and laughter and smiles, the soft, steady, light shining from her that too often went unnoticed.
"I love you, my moonbeam," Mor said, and kissed her mate.
It started out as soft as the sentiment, then quickly deepened as both of them remembered what they had been doing a minute before. Mor's fingers scraped at the fabric of Nesta's shift, trying to pull it off, and Nesta helped it up and over her head. And when she was naked, Mor stopped for just a moment to look at her and Nesta took the moment to appreciate Mor's silk robe hanging half off her shoulders, the lace underneath the same color as the flush across her skin. It was only when Nesta sent her lust down the bond that Mor leaned in and flicked her tongue against Nesta's nipple, pressed a kiss to her sternum, above her navel-
And then a stroke of her tongue up to her clit.
Nesta fell back against the counter at the sensation. If before was too much, now was just as bad, and Nesta crossed her ankles over Mor's back, pushing her closer, closer— please, closer —fingers scrambling for purchase against the smooth granite, Mor too far away for her to hold.
"Mor-" she gasped desperately. There had been once, when they had first gotten together, that Nesta had been silent in bed, too nervous and closed off to make a sound. It had only been upon Mor's continuous and enthusiastic encouragement— I want to hear you— that Nesta had finally let go. She's been thanking her mate for it ever since. "Mor, please, I'm so close, please, your fingers-"
Mor obeyed immediately, a finger curling inside her as her tongue continued to work Nesta's clit. A few more strokes and-
Nesta's back arched and she cried out Mor's name, her mate stroking her through it with her fingers, pulling her face away to watch her wife come from her touch.
And when it was over, and Nesta was left a breathless, sweaty mess on the kitchen counter, Mor slid her hand out from between her legs and reached into the frosting bowl Nesta had been so bent on protecting. She licked off the glob of homemade frosting with a smile. "Delicious.”