Despite the raucous atmosphere, a sense of calm washed over her as she gazed around the Ragged Flagon. All jobs were postponed for the time being; meaning everyone was present, including the new merchants and even Maven Black-Briar had made an appearance. After everything the Guild had been through with Mercer’s betrayal they deserved a bit of rest. And as the Holiday of Saturalia was upon them – what better way to relax and unwind than to party?
Mira’s musings were interrupted when someone claimed the vacated chair at her table. She may have been both drunk and preoccupied, but having her reflexes honed over the years meant little escaped her attention. And – as she turned her head to look at him – her visitor wasn’t exactly the epitome of grace tonight.
“Mira,” he said, needlessly calling for her attention. Mira was pleased to hear that despite his bumbling movements, his speech wasn’t the slightest bit affected by alcohol. There was no need for people to drink themselves stupid.
“Yes, Vipir?” she answered with a lazy smile.
“You just looked so lonely, sitting here all by yourself. Aren’t you having fun?”
His concerned tone touched her heart. Friends – that’s what she’d found down here in this sewer filled with thieves. People she loved and could always count on.
And, as she regarded the handsome Nord beside her, perhaps something even more than friends?
“Why, were you watching me?” she answered, trying – and failing – to sound coquettish, the way her mother had tried to drill into her brain at a young age. ‘The only way to get a good husband, Mira’, her mother had said. ‘Best learn that now while you’re young and beautiful’.
She had never mastered the art of flirting as readily as her sisters, and she still wasn’t married. Though, it didn’t bother her and her mother was thousands of miles away in Cyrodiil, trying to live her life while being oppressed by the Thalmor.
Her limited experience with flirting didn’t seem to bother Vipir though, as he answered her smile with a grin of his own.
“I’m always watching you, y’know,” he drawled. “Everyone else just seems to disappear while you’re in the room.”
Her heart stuttered. His admission seemed a little more serious than their usual banter. Was he being serious or had the drinks loosened his tongue more than she previously thought? Mira decided the best way was to ignore the comment.
“I just felt the need to sit down and rest some. I’m fine, really,” she gestured to the room around her. “How can I not be – I have food, alcohol and friends! Everything I could ask for!”
Vipir smiled slightly at her unsteady motions before reaching behind him, picking up an object and placing it on the table. Mira stared at it curiously. It was a covered item, wrapped with cloth and secured with some string. It was big enough that its length covered most of the small table, but slim – no broader than the palm of her hand.
“It’s for you,” Vipir answered her unasked question. “Happy Saturalia, Mira.”
“Me? You shouldn’t have,” the Imperial admonished, but the effect was somewhat ruined as she reached for the wrapped object with eager hands. She rarely received presents anymore – at least none of the personal kind, usually it was more ‘Oh thank you Dragonborn! Here, let me show my gratitude with this big-ass plate helmet. It’s surely an upgrade from your current armor. Look it has horns on it!’. No, thank you. She quickly made work of the coverings of Vipir’s gift and was awed by the contents.
“Oh, Vipir! Thank you so much!”
She held the dagger in front of her, carefully studying it. It was of daedric design and she could feel the small pulsations of magic emanating from the dagger, indicating it possessed a powerful enchantment as well. The Imperial was what some would call a collector, and her housecarls begged her to stop hoarding every piece of weapon she would come across in her travels. Her newest obsession though, were daedric weapons. Sleek, stylish and deadly. Just the way she liked it.
She looked at the Nord next to her and without warning flung her arms around his neck, careful not to cut him with the dagger. The surprised look on his face quickly vanished as he put his arms around her and was replaced with a pleased smile.
The hug lasted longer than what was appropriate for two friends, but Mira couldn’t bring herself to let go. She was only wearing a thin tunic and Vipir was warm and firm against her front and his arms wrapped around her back with just the right amount of pressure. His face was buried in the crook of her neck and the warmth of his breath produced a shiver that went through the length of her body, making the small hair at the back of her neck stand up at the sensation.
She detached herself and withdrew to her own seat. If Vipir was surprised by her quick retreat he didn’t show it. “This must have cost you a fortune!” she exclaimed with a voice that hopefully didn’t sound as unsteady as she felt.
Vipir gave her a pointed look and she sensed her face heating with embarrassment, feeling stupid. The man was a thief – a member of her own guild, for gods’ sake! Of course he didn’t buy the dagger.
“Apparently someone finally bought that house that’s been standing empty for ages. You know, the one next to the docks,” he took a gulp of mead before continuing. “A rich someone – bastard’s got weapons, jewels and gold just lying around. Ripe for the taking,” he finished with a chuckle.
The smile left her face. Did he mean…? She had to ask.
“The one in the northwestern corner? Honeyside?”
Vipir nodded. “That’s the one. Next time I’ll bring more bags – the chests are full enough to make us filthy rich.”
Mira looked closer at the dagger she was holding. There, at the base of the hilt was a faint mark, put there when she had defended herself against an assassin that had charged her outside of Ivarstead once. This was her dagger, she realized.
“Vipir… I live there. I bought that house three days ago,” she stated.
In another situation she probably would have laughed at the look on the thief’s face, but currently she had trouble finding the humor in this. Frustration filled her as she looked at the uncomfortable Nord thief. She didn’t understand why he was reacting so badly. Sure, it was embarrassing to realize that the house you just robbed belonged to your fellow thief, but frankly she was worse off here! Member of the Thieves Guild, and she couldn’t even proof her own house from burglars. She decided to take pity on him.
“Look, Vipir. I’m not mad, you only did-“ she stopped when he procured a piece of silky cloth from his back pocket, putting it on the table.
“I, uh, guess you’ll be wanting these back then,” he mumbled awkwardly, his hand scratching the back of his neck as he usually did when he was nervous.
Comprehension grabbed Mira’s heart with a hard fist and squeezed her insides as she forgot how to breathe for a few seconds. Oh, Mara. On the table was the piece of underwear she’d bought in Solitude, with the intent of never ever using, lest she freeze her ass off. They were only a small scrap of fabric, bright red, silky and very impractical. She could still remember the sneer on the Altmer’s face when she’d walked in to the store – as if saying that her kind had no place in such a high class establishment. Mira had bought the underwear purely out of spite, and regretted it immediately after when she barely had had enough money left to buy dinner.
The air between the thieves grew heavy and awkward as they both looked between the silk on the table and the other person. A loud laugh, coming from the bar, drew Mira out of her immobility and she quickly grabbed the offending item off the table, placing it out of sight in one of her pockets. Vipir cleared his throat.
“So, uh… Maybe you should get better locks?” he offered lamely, trying to diffuse the tension.
The Imperial nodded stiffly and rose to leave the room, mumbling an inaudible ‘goodnight’ before hurrying off. Curse her idiocy! She vaguely heard her name being called behind her, but she ignored it in favor of running through the door leading to the Warrens. She quickly and expertly navigated the winding tunnels and didn’t stop to catch her breath until she had reached Honeyside.
She slammed the door shut behind her and her eyes started to burn unpleasantly. It was just the cold night air, she told herself. Not tears.
Oh, but Mara, she felt so humiliated!
She had enjoyed this kinship with Vipir for several months now. They had a strong friendship with a lot of bantering and suggestive jokes. She had hoped it eventually would lead to something more, but that hope was lost now. She didn’t think she could ever look him in the eyes again.
With an annoyed growl, Mira threw the underwear to the side, narrowly missing the hearth and went to bed.
It was well into the afternoon the next day, when a knock on the door startled her out of her sulking. She tried to ignore it, but the person at the door wouldn’t take a hint and knocked again. And again. And again.
“What!?” she snarled, grasping the door handle and throwing it open, surprising the person outside.
“Oh. Is… is this a bad time? I mean, I could come back?”
Vipir. Of course it was Vipir standing outside her door in the afternoon while she was still in her bedclothes and her hair looking like the mane of a mammoth.
“No, it’s fine. I guess,” she said, feeling as eloquent as the owner of said mammoth. “Come in.”
Vipir smiled at her – a polite stretching of his lips that didn’t reach his eyes – and walked across the threshold. He didn’t go any further, but eyed the interior of the first floor with interest. His gaze caught on the rumpled sheets of her bed before it finally landed on her.
“I´d offer to show you around, but you’ve obviously already been in here before,” she mumbled. She knew she sounded like an asshole, but couldn’t be bothered to change her tone.
His cheeks colored and he dropped a satchel she hadn’t noticed he’d been carrying on the floor in front of him. It landed with a heavy thud.
“That’s why I’m here, actually.” He gestured toward the satchel and Mira crouched down to inspect its contents. “That’s everything I took from here. I even bought back the things I had managed to fence before I found out they were yours.”
He scratched the back of his neck, looking every bit as uncomfortable as Mira felt.
“I scratched a shadowmark on your doorframe. Both the front door and the one leading to the porch. No member of the Thieves Guild will ever break in here again.”
He cleared his throat. She was still refusing to look at him, pretending to be busy inspecting the returned loot. To be honest, she hadn’t even noticed anything was missing. She had too many items, too many weapons, but she couldn’t bear to part with it. Frankly, she wondered if there was a merchant in all of Skyrim that could afford to buy all of her junk.
Something gilded caught her gaze within the satchel and she pulled it out. She turned her eyes on Vipir, finally and regarded him skeptically.
“You found a literal golden dragon claw in someone’s house and didn’t make the connection that the Dragonborn owned it?”
“I… now that I know it does seem a little stupid of me, yeah. But I thought it belonged to some eccentric rich guy who liked to collect stuff,” Vipir said.
She snorted. “Including silk underwear.”
“I just figured he had a hot wife.”
She couldn’t help it, her snorts turned in to giggles and her giggles into full-blown laughter. It took only a few moments before Vipir had joined in on her hysteria as well, which only made the whole thing even funnier. She collapsed sideways on the floor, clutching her stomach as if that would help containing her mirth.
Vipir collapsed on the floor beside her and she ended up leaning on him while catching her breath as the laughter faded. Her hand landed on his knee and she looked up to see him regard her with something that could only be described as fondness.
“I’m sorry, Mira. I never meant for you to feel uncomfortable or unsafe. I just… shit, I just really wanted to give you something.” His words were quiet, sincere and she had to lean just a little closer to him to hear them properly.
She sighed. “You didn’t. I was embarrassed, yes, but not uncomfortable.”
They were so close now. His breath mingling with her own. Her eyes darted down to his mouth at their own volition and thrill of heat went through her when his tongue peeked out and he licked his lips.
She dragged her gaze back up to his eyes again, eyes that were darker than normal, filled with heat. For her. The thought made her cheeks flush.
“And you could never make me feel unsafe,” she whispered, afraid anything louder would break the building tension between them.
His right hand came up to gently cup her jaw, guiding her the last inches towards him. Her eyes fluttered close at the soft touch of his lips against hers. The sweet kiss soon turned urgent and she obligingly opened her mouth as his tongue swept over her lips, asking permission. She grasped his shoulders and pulled herself closer, ending up in his lap. He hummed in contentment and she could feel the vibrations through his chest.
Vipir put one hand on her hip and the other splayed between her shoulder blades, guiding her back down onto the floor, following all the while. Mira became startlingly aware of her clothing, or lack thereof as she was flat on her back, with her legs spread to accommodate the Nord currently kneeling between them. She looked up at him through her eyelashes, refusing to feel shy in her thin shift as he looked at her as though he would devour her whole.
“You’re so beautiful,” he said in an awed voice. His hand left its place on her hip and travelled upward, his thumb grazing the underside of her breast. The calluses on his hands caught on the soft fabric of her clothing and she wondered what they’d feel like on her naked skin. The thought made her keen and roll her hips impatiently.
He chuckled at her eagerness before leaning down to kiss the trail his hand left, continuing upwards between the valley of her breasts and then her neck. Needy, pathetic sounds she didn’t think she was capable of escaped from her throat as he nipped and licked at a sensitive point just below her ear.
A soft piece of cloth touched her shoulder and as she turned her head she found the pair of underwear that had caused all of this embarrassment. Though, as she trailed a hand down Vipir’s torso, cupping him through his leather breeches and eliciting a grunt from him, she couldn’t find it in her to regret anything.
Vipir had found the underwear too, and didn’t hesitate before putting them away in one of his numerous pockets.
“Hey!” she protested weakly. “I thought I could show you what they look like on.”
He groaned again, but it was muffled against her stomach as he trailed lower and lower. Reaching the apex of her thighs he gave her a rakish grin before putting her thighs over his shoulders, effectively baring her to him. She felt a jolt of heat settling in her lower stomach at the wild look in his eyes.
“I think I prefer them off.”
And with that he attacked her with mouth and tongue, reducing her to an incoherent mess of moans and needy sounds. She grasped his hair and pulled hard as she came with a scream. Giving her a final lick before withdrawing, he let her legs tumble to the floor with a boneless thud. He picked her up with little effort and carried her towards the bed where he gently laid her down upon the rumpled bedding.
She watched with interest as he undid the various clasps and buckles on his leather armor and quickly stripped, leaving him bare. Like most Nords, he was burly, with a smattering of chest hair leading down to his-
Mira quickly looked up from the place between his legs and blushed a furious red as he chuckled at her.
“You can look all you want, I don’t mind,” he grinned.
He sat down next to her on the bed, legs on the floor and put one hand on her thigh dragging it slowly upward and at the same time pulling her thin shift with it, confirming her thought that his hands did feel wonderful on her skin. He went slowly, Mira was unsure if it was just to tease her or to give her a chance of stopping if she chose.
Stopping was the furthest thing from her mind and she lifted her shoulders to help him remove the garment completely, leaving her fully bare.
It was midwinter, but she was far from cold as she felt Vipir’s heated gaze trail over her. Beautiful, he’d called her. His expression was rapt admiration and she arched her back unconsciously.
“Touch me,” she begged. “Please.”
He obliged, lifting both hands to cup her breasts and kneading them, thumbing her erect nipples. Mira trailed one of her hands along the inside of his thighs before coming up to grasp him firmly. She relished the moan that came from him as she started moving her hand up down his member.
“Mira, please,” he groaned. “This will be over way too soon if you keep doing that.”
He grasped her hand and gave each of her fingertips a gentle kiss before settling her hand on the pillow above her head. Hs grip was loose enough that she’d be able to break free if she wanted, but firm enough that she was banned from exploring him more.
He made a sound in his throat before descending on top of her, forcing her to spread her legs to accommodate him. The feeling of him nudging her wet center made her canter her hips against his, wanting nothing more than him inside her, as close as two people could be.
“Are you sure?” he breathed against her neck as he left sloppy, open-mouthed kisses.
“Please. Please,” she whined moving her hips in vain as he was so much bigger and heavier than her. Thankfully, she didn’t have to wait long before he slid inside her with a groan.
She was so full and she felt so good. If only he could move.
“Okay?” he asked. Mira opened eyes she didn’t even remember closing. He was restraining himself. His entire body shook with the effort of holding himself still. She nodded, bringing one leg up to braise against his hip, forcing him deeper.
“Vipir,” she moaned. “Please.”
He gave her that carefree grin again and planted a soft kiss at the corner of her mouth.
“Since you asked so nicely.”
And with that he slid out almost completely, before plunging back in, setting an urgent pace. She met each of his thrusts with one of her own. She was still sensitive from her previous orgasm and when he hit that delightful spot deep inside her, her back arched on its own volition and she clenched down, drawing a hiss from him. He aimed for that spot again, plunging a little deeper and she could feel herself racing towards the edge.
“Right there!” she breathed. “Don’t stop.”
He accompanied his next thrust with his thumb against her clit, pressing down hard and Mira saw stars. She cried out, tensing as a bow string ready to fire and was vaguely aware of Vipir cursing softly as her inner core fluttered rhythmically around him. He came with her name on his lips and partially collapsed on top of her, still bearing the brunt of his weight on his elbows and knees, his face in the crook of her neck.
As she came down from her high she placed soft butterfly kisses along his collarbone. He lifted his head and brought his lips to hers, kissing her slowly and thoroughly, as though he had all the time in the world.
He gave her a final kiss before lying down beside her, his arm draped possessively over her stomach and their legs tangled together. Neither said a word for several minutes, just catching their breaths and basking in the afterglow.
The golden light of sunset soon filled the room. Mira turned her head towards Vipir, expecting him to be sound asleep but was surprised when she found him gazing back at her with a lazy smile. He looked as unraveled and disheveled as she felt.
She stroked his cheek, feeling the stubble there, flushing slightly when she realized she must have marks from his beard on her inner thighs.
“What are you thinking about?” he asked.
“That this is probably the best Saturalia gift I’ve ever received,” she confessed.
Vipir expertly maneuvered her flush against him; his arms draped around her and placed a kiss on her forehead.
“Me too,” he whispered. “Happy Saturalia, Mira.”