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Beau fucking hates shopping. It takes too long, and it involves a lot of haggling, which involves being pleasant to people, but not, like, too pleasant because then they take advantage of you and shit. Anyway, she lets the rest of the group handle all that.

Caduceus and Fjord seem to have it well in hand while they buy supplies for whatever journey they’re about to go on to see the Bright Queen. Beau still doesn’t know how they’re going to quite get there, but Caduceus insisted on buying stuff to eat just in case. She figures since he almost died, he gets to buy whatever the hell he wants.

Beau keeps well out of it, standing to the side and leaning against a wall and trying not to look too intimidating or alert. She keeps crossing her arms, remembering, and then uncrossing them. Fuck, she hates this. Caleb’s way better at this submissive shit, just stands there with a slightly blank expression, his head tilted forward so that most of his hair obscures his face. So basically, no different from how he usually looks, really.

Jester bounces in her direction with some kind of fruit in her hands that she’s eating.

“Oh nice, what’s that?” Beau says, her mouth instantly watering. They woke up in a fucking underground cavern this morning and didn’t really have time for a proper breakfast. She’s starving.

“Beats me!” Jester says, tearing off a segment of it and popping it into her mouth. “Tastes pretty good though.”

“You didn’t get one for me?” Beau says.

“Why would I buy such a nice treat for my servant?” Jester says airily, tossing her hair excessively. Then she laughs. “No, I’m just kidding of course, here, have some of mine!” She tears off a segment with her fingers and offers it to Beau. Beau reaches forward to take it from her, but Jester snatches it away.

“No, come here,” Jester says, waving the piece of fruit in front of Beau’s mouth. “I’m letting you have it because I am feeling so-oo generous.”

What, like Jester wants to feed it to her or something? Beau scowls. “You’re enjoying this way too much, you know that?” Which only makes Jester smile wider. Not fair that tieflings get to have such badass sharp teeth. Beau self-consciously runs her tongue over the blunt edges of her own teeth. Barely pointy.

Still, she leans forward and takes the piece of fruit with her mouth, feeling uncomfortably like the pet moorbounder beast that she just saw Jester feed treats to. The fruit is surprisingly good though, whatever it is. A little sour, a little sweet, and juicy enough that she has to quickly wipe at her mouth with the back of her hand.

“Hey, that’s not bad,” Beau says, licking away some of the stickiness.

“Right?” Jester says, happily, eating a piece herself. “Here, have some more.”

Jester feeds her more of the fruit, which Beau should probably feel more embarrassed about, except that she’s hungry, and, you know, Jester keeps looking at her like that every time Beau takes a piece of fruit from her fingers, like she’s actually enjoying herself, not like she’s doing this just to make Beau look like an idiot. Beau doesn’t mind it so much then. Doesn’t really know why that would make a difference, but it does.

“Good girl,” Jester says brightly, once Beau has taken the last piece, like it’s not even something weird, except for some reason, Beau freezes, feels a rush of heat. Okay then.

She sees Caleb shoot them a look from behind his curtain of hair, and feels weirdly caught out.

“Thanks for the fruit,” Beau says, leaning back against the wall again, just to put some distance between them.

“No problem,” Jester says, who doesn’t seem to notice. “I’ll go get some more.” She skips back to the market stall and Beau lets out a breath.

Caleb is still looking at her. He’s been acting weird ever since Fjord strapped him into that harness. Quiet, and less twitchy.

“What?” she barks at him, defensive.

For some reason, he seems to find this amusing, but he just shrugs and makes a motion with his hands like I’m not getting involved. What the hell does that mean?

She’s about to ask him to explain himself, but then, in the distance across the main thoroughfare, she catches sight of a familiar figure watching them. Dairon.

“I’ll be right back,” Beau says quickly to Caleb, and then hurries after Dairon, who has turned around to disappear into the crowd.

She dodges a few carts, slides around the narrow gap between two stalls, and ducks and weaves her way through the busy street, full of assholes who won’t part the way for a lowly human. Despite that, she thinks she’s doing pretty good at keeping pace with Dairon, that is until she rounds a corner and runs straight into a merchant holding a crate.

The crate drops to the floor and smashes into pieces, sending fruits and vegetables scattering everywhere. The merchant is a huge bugbear who towers over her, and roars angrily. She grabs Beau by the harness and lifts her into the air.

“Look what you’ve done, human! Who will pay for these now?” the bugbear growls.

“Sorry! Sorry!” Beau tries to yell, but the bugbear just continues to shake her.

“That’s enough!” a voice says. “Put her down.”

Oh thank fuck. Beau sees, from her vantage point still suspended in the air, that Dairon has stepped forward from the shadows, still in their drow elf disguise.

“This human is your responsibility?” the bugbear says.

Dairon sighs. “Yes, she is. I apologize for her clumsiness. Put her down and I will settle the damages.”

The bugbear sets her down, none too gently, and Beau figures she might as well play up the clumsiness bit, so she stumbles a little on purpose.

She’s not expecting Dairon to come up behind her and steady her. She always forgets how quickly she can move.

“Thanks,” she says.

“Shut up and stop talking,” Dairon says, her voice utterly cold. Beau watches as she pulls out a purse, takes out some gold coins, and gives them to the bugbear.

“For your trouble, ma’am. I hope that will be enough,” Dairon says.

The bugbear counts the gold and snorts loudly, seeming to be satisfied. “Keep a closer eye on that one.”

Dairon bows her head. “I will. Don’t worry, she will be disciplined.”

They watch as the bugbear gathers the remains of her crate and lumbers off. As soon as she is out of earshot, Beau spins around.

“You weren’t serious about the discipline, right?” Beau says, smirking. “I mean, whatever you’re into.”

Dairon looks like she might blow a fucking fuse, which is a look that Beau is getting used to seeing when it comes to their little secret conversations. Gods, she missed her. “Shut up,” Dairon says again. “What in the world are you wearing, and why?”

Beau looks down. She kind of forgot she was wearing the harness. It doesn’t fit too badly, doesn’t really restrict her movement that much. The collar itches a bit, though. “Don’t you like it?” she says. “You’re the one who told me I need a better disguise.”

Dairon pinches her nose. “Lower your voice when you speak of such things.” She looks up to scan the crowd, and whatever she finds worries her visibly. “Come with me. I’m being followed.”

“Seriously? Uh, okay, yeah, sure,” Beau says. Dairon doesn’t reply, just runs at the nearest wall and launches herself up and onto the roof, doing it all with a graceful ease that Beau doubts she’ll be able to match.

“Are you coming?” they say, peering down at Beau from the roof. Beau has no idea if Dairon has the capacity to look smug, but she thinks this might be as close as they get.

“Yeah, yeah, give me a second,” Beau says, and tries to copy Dairon’s move. It’s definitely not as graceful — her hand slips off a dusty brick, and she almost falls back to the ground, except that Dairon catches her by the wrist and pulls her up so that Beau can grab the edge of the roof and lift herself up.

“Haven’t you been practicing the exercises I gave you?” Dairon asks, sounding extremely judgey about it too.

“Look, I’ve been a bit busy, all right?” Beau says, getting to her feet and dusting herself off. That was embarrassing.

Dairon sighs again. “Come on.” They take off running across the roof, Beau doing her best to stay close behind. She has no idea how Dairon knows where the hell they’re going. In this part of Asarius, the buildings are close together, so it’s easy to leap across them, and this way anyone who might be following Dairon in the street below won’t be able to see them. Pretty fucking smart.

They come to a quieter part of the city, less market and more people’s homes. There are children playing in the alleyways, clotheslines strung out from windows. It is to one of these windows that Dairon leaps, catching herself on the windowsill, and vaulting in. Beau takes a nervous breath — one fall here, and it’ll be a fucking painful way down — and she takes the leap.

She catches the windowsill, but just barely. Not that she’s going to tell Dairon that. She swings herself in, landing solidly in the middle of the room. It’s pretty bare, just a bed and a narrow writing desk.

Beau sits down on the bed, bouncing a little on the hard mattress, just to see if Dairon will stop her. The bed frame creaks loudly, and Beau sees Dairon twitch a little, but otherwise she doesn’t react. Not that Beau’s disappointed or anything. “This where you’re staying now?” Beau asks.

“It is,” Dairon says, closing the window shutters. “The last place I was staying at was discovered. I came back one evening to find it being watched, so I took a room here instead. The owner is discreet, and does not ask too many questions. And the money I earned from defeating you and your friend certainly made things easier.” Dairon takes off the ring and puts it down on the desk, and instantly the drow disguise melts away.

“I have to get me one of those,” Beau says, gesturing. “Caleb turned me into this hot tiefling dude when I asked him to, but it would be nice to do it myself.”

“So instead you decided your disguise would be… this,” Dairon gestures at the harness. “Do you really think this is better?”

“Hey, we didn’t have too many options. Fooled that bugbear, didn’t it?” Beau says, a little annoyed. When will Dairon start fucking trusting her to know what she’s doing? She’s not a kid. “She definitely thought I was your servant or something.”

“Or something,” Dairon says under their breath. “And that little show you put on with your blue tiefling friend? Part of the disguise, was it?”

Beau feels her face heat up. Fuck. Dairon was watching her and Jester back there?

Dairon tilts her head, like she’s reading every single thought in Beau’s head and disapproving of it. “So it was not meant to be a show after all. It’s a pity. It was the most believable part of your disguise. You’re much too abrasive and insolent to be mistaken as someone’s servant.”

Beau grins wide, aware that she’s being a shit. “Thanks.”

Dairon continues on as if Beau had not said anything. “That moment, though. It was genuine. You and the tiefling are quite close, then. You fought at each other’s side well during the fight.”

“Me and Jester?” Beau says uncomfortably. “Yeah, I mean, we’re friends. Listen, did you bring me up here just to tell me my disguise is shit? I’m open to pointers, you know. You’re supposed to teach me after all.”

Dairon continues to look irritated. Fuck, would it kill her to crack a smile every now and then? “You’re the one who followed me. And you drew a lot of attention doing so, might I add. Clearly it is not in your nature to be inconspicuous.”

Beau lifts her chin defiantly. Of course Dairon is going to spend this entire time chewing her out. Beau can’t believe she came all the way here just to—

Dairon grabs the side of Beau’s jaw and pushes it away, not quite a slap, but enough force behind it so that Beau is forced to break eye contact with Dairon, look down at her lap instead.

“This is what I’m talking about,” Dairon tells her. “The key to being unnoticed is to look as if you belong already. Challenging anyone who walks by is going to get you killed.”

“Hey, this is just my face, okay?” Beau says. She looks up at Dairon, but again, Dairon knocks her face down, and this time it’s more of a slap — not hard enough to leave a mark, even if Beau did bruise easily, but definitely enough to sting. A clear message: do as I say.

“Eyes down,” Dairon says, standing over her. Beau grits her teeth and keeps her head bowed, even though a part of her kind of wants to find out what Dairon would do to her if she didn’t.

“It’s a start. Although anyone who pays attention can see how much you want to throw a punch right now,” Dairon says, and she sounds amused, what the hell. Beau’s fists tighten, where they’re curled over her knees. “Why did you follow me, Beau?” Dairon asks.

“I—” Beau starts, her voice croaking. Why the fuck is her mouth so dry all of a sudden? She tries again, “I wanted to say goodbye. We’re heading out today. I don’t know when I’ll get to see you next.”

There is a pause. Beau forces herself to keep her eyes down. “You weren’t meant to become so attached to me,” Dairon says, sounding regretful.

“That’s not up to you,” Beau says, suddenly so angry that her voice shakes with it. She knows Dairon wants her to be impassive, unfeeling, just like her, but fuck that, if Beau cares about something, she’ll fucking say it. She looks down at her hands, at the demon blood still caked in underneath her fingernails.

“You can’t just push away people and make them not care about you,” Beau says. “My friends and I almost died last night in a well because of this huge demon thing and its creepy sexy demon friends, and no one would have cared much about me being gone. But you know what’s fucked up? If I wanted anyone to give a shit about my death, it would be you.”

Dairon does not say anything after that confession, outburst, whatever it was that Beau just laid out on her — and, finally, bracing herself for a blow, Beau looks up.

She’s never seen Dairon like this — like something Beau did completely surprised her. They look startled, unsure, and Beau thinks, fuck it, it’s now or never, and gets to her feet to pull Dairon into a kiss.

Was Dairon always this small? Beau has to bend slightly to kiss them, and they’re still so slender in her arms, that slight elven build, but all whip-strong muscle. Dairon could break Beau in half, easy, but this feels wrong. Dairon’s not kissing her back. Fuck.

It’s almost a relief when Dairon pushes Beau away with a swift hit to her sternum, knocking the wind out of her. She keeps striking Beau in quick, calculated jabs, a familiar sequence of attacks that Beau knows very well, until Beau is completely stunned, and can do nothing but fall back onto the bed, her neck bent at an awkward angle.

From this vantage point, Dairon looks mad, like frothing mad, and Beau thinks, with some measure of satisfaction, that she finally fucked this up too. Just like she’s fucked up everything else in her life, eventually.

“Do you ever,” Dairon says in a low hiss, eyes narrowed to angry slits, “think before you jump blindly in?”

And then, instead of leaving Beau there, instead of beating Beau up some more, Dairon kneels over her on the bed instead, and begins to unbuckle Beau’s harness. As soon as it’s off, Dairon tosses it away, as if it deeply offended her.

Beau’s stun wears off after a few seconds, but her movements are still slow, uncoordinated, and so Dairon, swearing in a language that Beau cannot understand, lifts Beau’s arms up so that she can strip off her shirt, yanks away the belt holding Beau’s pants up, until Beau is naked beneath her. And then, because Dairon still looks vaguely apoplectic, Beau stretches out a little for her, showing off a little maybe. Oh yeah, there’s the familiar vein in Dairon’s forehead, ready to pop.

“I knew it,” Beau says, smirking. “Knew you liked me.”

Dairon snarls at her in that same language, and shoves Beau’s legs apart. “Do you ever stop talking?” they say in Common.

“Not really,” Beau says, and then gasps when Dairon reaches between her legs to thumb at her clit, just this side of too hard.

Dairon, it turns out, is really fucking good at this, and Beau does not shut up at all, even though she kind of desperately wants to. Dairon fixes that issue by putting her hand over Beau’s mouth, an almost appalled expression on her face, even as she continues to fuck Beau with her other hand. For some reason, this just turns Beau on even more, the way that Dairon’s putting their weight into it so that Beau is pinned down, how she can’t even say anything anymore. She spreads her legs more, hoping this encourages Dairon to fuck her harder.

“Did those harnesses not come with gags,” Dairon says, under her breath, and it’s probably meant to be insulting, except that the idea of Dairon gagging her is so fucking hot to her apparently that Beau shoots off right away, her yell muffled into the palm of Dairon’s hand as she comes.

Dairon doesn’t stop, even though Beau tries to twist away from the overstimulation, but it’s almost as if Dairon knows the limits of Beau’s body even more extensively than Beau herself, like all that time they’ve spent sparring, Dairon was cataloguing every weak point in her, every tell, every little thing that hits Beau’s buttons even if Beau didn’t know. Dairon is relentless, and Beau comes a second time, and then a third, all in quick succession.

Dairon sits back on their heels on the bed, face impassive as they watch Beau pant. Holy shit. She feels wrecked. Those were the best orgasms Beau’s ever had. She doesn’t really want to dissect why, especially not when her brain feels like really, really nice soup.

“This the discipline you were talking about?” Beau says, her words slurring into each other a bit. “You know, it’s kind of nice. Ten out of ten, would get disciplined like that again.”

It feels like a reward when Dairon’s composure breaks, and she looks like she wants to strangle Beau again. Honestly, Beau would let her.

“We should have broken you in a long time ago,” Dairon says. Like Beau needs another reminder that she’s a disappointment.

She smiles through it, still feeling loose and hazy. “Hey, it’s not too late,” she says in invitation, without even really thinking about what she’s asking for.

Dairon, however, seems to come to some sort of decision. “Get on your hands and knees and face the wall,” they tell Beau, the same icy severity in their voice as when they taught Beau how to fully kick someone’s ass in under three punches. It’s so ingrained in her to follow that voice that Beau doesn’t even think about it, just does as she’s told.

She’s not expecting it when Dairon slaps her on the ass.

It’s not a hard blow — Beau is well aware of how hard Dairon can hit when they mean to — but it still takes her by surprise. Not just the sharp pain of it, but how thoroughly it messes Beau up. Dairon is spanking her. She doesn’t even realize what noise she’s making until about halfway through it, a loud keening sound, like she can’t quite get enough.

Dairon continues to hit her, until the right side of Beau’s ass feels hot and tender, until Beau has thoroughly lost all awareness of the sounds she’s making and of the wetness gathering at the corners of her eyes, just hyper-focused on each returning blow, on the sound of Dairon’s breathing getting harsher and harsher.

When Dairon is done, Beau cannot help but sob a little, surprised by how broken she sounds, as if it’s happening to someone else across the room. Dairon digs a hand into the sore flesh as if testing it, and Beau, now entirely a stranger to her own body’s reactions, finds herself pushing back into the touch, making the neediest fucking noise about it. Wanting whatever Dairon wants to give her.

She thought that last orgasm was good? This is about a million times better. Beau feels like she’s floating.

Dairon lets go of her. Beau, with some difficulty, turns around, and sees Dairon’s face. Flushed, their eyes bright, breathing hard. As animated as Beau has ever seen them to be, like they’ve just had a fucking revelation. Yeah, Beau knows the feeling.

“Come here,” Dairon says, their voice a soft rasp, like they’ve been shouting. Beau goes to them, shuddering all over when Dairon takes her in their arms, kissing her.

“You were good. That was good,” Dairon says, their lips moving across Beau’s forehead, and if there is disbelief in their voice, Beau won’t call them out on it. She doesn’t think either of them expected this. Looking back on it, it’s been something of a recurring theme in their relationship, neither one of them quite knowing what to make of the other.

Beau might have to reassess her views on authority — it could be that it's got its merits after all.

There is one last thing she wants, though. She goes to kneel on the floor between Dairon’s knees. “Let me, please,” Beau says, and then waits. Patient. She can be patient.

Dairon doesn’t keep her waiting for very long. There's the hint of a smile there, indulgent. “Go on then,” she says, and helps undo the front of her pants and pull them down so that Beau can lick into her, finding her already wet with slick. From what she just did to Beau. Like that, face buried between Dairon's thighs, Beau gets to feel the exact moment where Dairon goes over the edge, that ironclad control shattering for one brief, glorious moment, Dairon letting out a sharp exhale as they tremble against Beau’s mouth.

And then, later: Dairon helps Beau back onto the bed. They fit together on the narrow mattress, Beau leaning in just so that Dairon will laugh a little, and kiss her again. Beau feels all lit up inside, just from that.

Soon after, it’s time to go, the sun beginning to set. Dairon watches from the bed as Beau dresses again, eyes narrowing in distaste when Beau buckles on the harness.

“Could use some help with this actually,” Beau says, trying to fit all the straps together. This was way easier the first time, with that weird goblin helping.

“Not on your life,” Dairon says, smirking a little, seeming content to watch Beau struggle with it. Which is pretty fucking distracting, if Beau’s honest with herself. But there’s no way she has time to start another round, even if she really wants to.

Eventually, she does figure it out, every strap in its place, and then opens the window shutters again. Hopefully, she’ll be able to find her way back to the group in time. “So, uh, I guess this is it,” Beau says, uncertain of herself all of a sudden. Does she kiss Dairon goodbye? Is that where they’re at now?

Dairon makes that decision for her, thankfully, coming up to her and clasping her arm, pulling her close to rest their foreheads together. “Go in safety, Beauregard,” Dairon says in a low, fervent whisper, and is it weird that Beau suddenly finds herself blinking back tears?

Beau steps back a bit, wiping at her nose. “Yeah, you too,” she says, equally fervent. And then, she steps out the window, climbs up to the roof, and sets off to find her friends.