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Fjord was sitting in a back corner when Beau came over to sit beside him. She gave him an uncomfortably direct stare and bluntly asked, “What’s wrong with you?”

“Why does something have to be wrong?”

“Because you’re over here while everyone else is over there,” she gestured with her tankard to the rest of the Mighty Nein who were huddled around the front of the stage where mostly half naked men and women were dancing to what was objectively some very sexy music.

He thought of half a dozen lies and evasions, but he was too tired follow through with any of them. It had been a long ass week. “What can I say, Beau? This isn’t exactly my scene.”

“I can hang out here with you and we can get wasted,” she offered.

The side of Fjord’s lips lifted, “Nah, that’s fine. I know you’d rather be at the stage than back here with me.”

“I do want to be at the stage,” she admitted, reaching out to put a hand on his shoulder and looking at him intently. “But you’re my friend, and if you want me to sacrifice a really great night with a really hot and limber chic, then I’ll do that for you.”

“I really don’t.”

“Awesome, I’ll send Jester over.”

Fjord tried to stop Beau, but she was too wily and slipped out of his grasp. “No, you don’t have to-She’s having her fun, leave her be.”

Beau ignored him and walked back up towards the stage, winding through more than a dozen tables filled will people. Fjord groaned as Beau whispered something to Jester, pointed at him, and then took Jester’s seat when she got up to make her way towards him.

“I told her not to do that,” Fjord assured Jester when she got close enough for her to hear.

“Oh, it’s okay. This gives me a chance to draw some of this,” she pulled out her journal from her backpack and the pen she used for sketching. “Besides, Beau says I’m a terrible wing man.”

He could understand that, “Sometimes when you talk someone up, it sounds like you’re hitting on them.”

“Maybe sometimes I am,” she said offhand as she flipped through the book to an empty page and began drawing figures, adding little details to their costumes. Fjord stared at her, a little thrown by her offhand comment. He’d always thought she was being nice all those times she’d complimented him…was there a chance she had been hitting on him all those times she’d talked him up? “Why are you back here?”

Fjord shifted back in his chair, looking away from Jester to the images she was forming with her fingers; it always amazed him how much talent she had. “I think this, uh, performance is meant for a different audience.”

“Like Beau?”

“Yeah, maybe Caleb.” Fjord looked up and over at the group. “Probably not Cad, but I think he just loves every new experience. He might not have any idea this entire thing is a choreographed seduction.”

“You’re not seduced?” Jester asked, looking up from her drawing.

“No, Jester, I’m not.” He watched the dancers for a moment and could understand what was supposed to be happening, and by the looks of the other audience members, what was happening for some. But for him? “It doesn’t work like that for me.”

She put her pen down and angled her body to face his. It was one of the things he adored about her, her complete willingness to give someone the entirety of her attention. More than once it had caught him by surprise, the intensity of it and the thrill of being-however temporarily-the center of her universe. “What doesn’t?”

“Uh,” he hadn’t really meant to admit that, but he felt so awkward here and Jester was someone he’d always felt comfortable with, and he wanted to keep her attention on him for just a little while longer. “You know how Beau is with women?”

“Like, how every time she meets someone who is hot she immediately wants to jump her?”

“Yeah, I’ve never gotten that feeling. I’ve never seen someone, man or woman, and immediately wanted them. So when I see something like this,” he waved at the stage, “I think it’s a cool dance, but it does nothing for me and I honestly don’t get the appeal.”

Jester studied him for a moment and he started feel awkward, maybe a little broken, and tried to make himself smaller. “I was always a little weird that way.”

“That’s not weird, Fjord.” She scooched her chair over to him, the wood making a terrible screeching sound beneath them. “Not everyone is built the same way.”

“Not according to my crew mates,” he told her and the hardness in his voice wasn’t directed at her. “Do you remember a few months back, I think it was around Hupperduke? I mentioned I’d only ever been with one person?”

“I remember,” Jester assured him.

“Well, that, uh, interaction hadn’t been my idea.”

“Your shipmates?” she guessed and there was no scorn or sarcasm on her face or in her voice. Just open compassion and interest, and it was that, more than anything physical, which made him want her the way he did.

Fjord eventually nodded and took another pull from his tankard. “They thought it would help, kind of a ‘you don’t know what you’re missing’ sort of thing, but it didn’t work the way I think it was supposed to because nothing changed for me.”

Jester was quiet for a moment before asking carefully, “Did you enjoy it?”

He thought about it seriously, because she’d asked earnestly. “It was all right? Like it wasn’t bad, but honestly, I didn’t get anything more out of it then I would have gotten on my own.”

His eyes widened, realizing what he’d said, but Jester was more comfortable about those sorts of things than he was and didn’t bat an eye. “I can understand that. I mean, I’ve never had sex but I’ve gotten myself off plenty of times and it was great. I wonder why they were so invested in your sex life, it seems like a weird thing for your friends to focus on.”

He shrugged, “I think it was because they didn’t understand it and neither did I. And you know, orcs have a reputation and the fact I was half orc without any of the rampant sexual craving was a curiosity. Then we’d get into port, go out for drinks, and they’d talk about how badly they needed a woman, if they were inclined that way. And I never had the need? Not like they seemed to anyway, and the way they talked about women…”

“Were they being jerks?” she asked, as if she was prepared to defend every woman on the planet from lascivious sailors.

“On occasion,” he allowed. “But mostly just talking about how sexy this woman was, how hot that one was, and I didn’t get it. Sure, they were beautiful but I didn’t feel that pull and they thought it was just a lack of opportunity? Lack of knowledge? That once I’d had sex it would click for me and I’d be the same as them. For a long time I didn’t understand what they were talking about.”

“Sexual attraction,” she filled in, propping her chin on her hand. “Never?”

“Uh,” Fjord shifted in the chair, picked up his drink and set it down again without drinking it. “The closest was for this lady I know. I thought she was pretty when I first met her, but I didn’t start to feel that sexual pull ‘til we’d known each other for a while.”

Jester scrunched up her nose, an instinctive reaction she quickly smoothed out. “Avantika.”

He stared at her for a while, not sure how she hadn’t realized his meaning. “No, not Avantika.”

She rolled her eyes, her posture relaxing again. “Then why’d you sleep with her?”

“Didn’t know how to say no?” he answered, but she didn’t look convinced. Fjord rolled his shoulders, trying to ease the tension between them before resting his arms on the table. “I thought maybe if I tried again it’d be different, because this time we shared something.”



“That’s not the kind of thing that matters, Fjord.”

“I kno-“

“I mean, I wouldn’t jump a guy just because they followed the Traveler.”

He wasn’t mad at the interruption, sometimes the words couldn’t stay in her mouth. “I’ll remember that the next time we meet another follow of the water snake god. ‘Don’t have sex with them just because we’re tethered to the same being.’”

Jester nodded her approval and then leaned towards him. “So sex with Avantika wasn’t good, huh?”

Fjord snorted at her tone, “You don’t have to sound so smug about it.”

She smiled and they sat together, watching the craziness go on in the tavern as the dancing wrapped up. Beau went up to the tallest woman, a sturdy looking female who seemed exactly Beau’s type, and even from this distance Fjord could tell his friend was desperately hitting on the dancer.

He wished her all the luck.

“Who was it?” she asked after a few minutes had passed. He looked over at the question, raised an eyebrow because he didn’t know what she was asking about. “The woman you felt all sexy about, I mean.”

“Oh,” he looked away, focusing on his friends: Nott was stealing something from one of the dancers and Caleb was so buried in his book the room could explode and he wouldn’t notice. Gathering up his limited amount of courage he answered, “It’s you.”

When she didn’t say anything, which was so un-Jester-like, he started to feel a heavy sinking feeling in his gut. After counting to five he slowly turned his head to see Jester staring at him, her big eyes blinking at him slowly. “Me?”

“Yeah, Jester. You.”

She turned her head, her eyes not really focusing on anything and he let her work through whatever thoughts she had. Across the room someone screamed with excitement.

He probably could have timed this better.

“Oh. Well, same.”

“Yeah?” there was too much noise, he couldn’t be sure he’d heard her right.

“Yeah, Fjord,” she shrugged with one of her shoulders. “The only difference is your attraction took some time, and mine was pretty much immediate.”

Fjord shifted on his chair so he was facing her, their knees bumping against each other. “Immediate?”

“I saw you,” she said it like a confession. “Before we met.”

“I saw you, too. You were drawing a dick on the ship next to mine.”

Her grin was victorious. “That was the day I saw you too, when I was sneaking towards the ship. You were up on the deck ordering people around. You were very sweaty, and very hot.”

“Well, it was the middle of summer.”

She narrowed her eyes at him, “That’s not what I meant, and you know it.” He shrugged off the compliment, not sure what to do with it and picked up his drink. “Do you enjoy kissing?”

He sputtered into his drink, ninety percent sure she’d waited until he’d taken a swing to ask, just so she’d get a reaction. “Geeze, Jester.”

“It’s a fair question. If sex is boring, we could try making out. You’re the only person I’ve ever kissed so I wouldn’t know if you were bad at it.”

Fjord stared at her, counting to five before he trusted himself enough to speak. “It’s not that sex is boring, it’s just that I don’t need it. I hate to keep using Beau as an example of normal-“

“Average,” Jester interrupted.


“People can be average, but no one is normal.”

She said it with such certainty he believed her without really understanding what she was saying. “How do you figure?”

“Well, because I think normal people have two parents, and Caleb probably thinks normal people don’t kill their parents, and Nott thinks normal people don’t collect buttons,” she waved her hand as she rattled off her examples. “Normal is nothing but a word to summarize all the things you wish to be but can never become. Normal isn’t real. So maybe you’re not average, Fjord, but why would you want to be?”

He was stunned for a couple of seconds, trying to catch up with a view point that was drastically changing by the millisecond. So if normal wasn’t a thing, and he simply wasn’t average, that was a good thing, wasn’t it? Being different was better than being abnormal.

“You still with me?” Jester asking, her voice all friendly teasing as she poked his shoulder.

“Yeah, I just think you blew my mind, Jester.”

“Cool,” she grinned. “But I didn’t mean to interrupt you, you were saying something about Beau being average.”

“Most people I know crave sex-“

“I do.”

“You do?” he asked, distracted by the admission, by the images it conjured up in his mind.

“Yeah. I just masturbate and it eases it some, but sometimes you just really want the weight of another person on you. Even if you’ve never actually experienced it yourself.”

She was going to kill him before he ever got the chance to touch her. “Well, I don’t have that craving. I mean, the whole three times I’ve done it, it was an enjoyable enough way to pass the hour, but it was hardly something I couldn’t live without.”

“But,” and she leaned forward like she was about so ask a very private or very important question. “Do you like kissing?”

Fjord laughed and leaned forward, matching her serious voice with one of his own. “Yes, Jester, I like kissing.”

“Great,” her knees rammed into his as she stood up quickly. “Let’s go make out.”

Fjord grabbed her wrist, tugging a little so she turned back to face him. “You want to make out?”

Jester’s sigh was a little exasperated but he liked to think it was also a little fond. “Yes, Fjord, don’t you?”

“Well, yeah.”

She pulled her arm, not enough to make Fjord let go, but rather to encourage him to come with her. “Then let’s go.”

Fjord stood up but didn’t let her drag him towards the door. “We should probably let the others know we’re leaving so they don’t think we’ve been kidnapped again.”

“Good point,” she closed her eyes and did a couple of movements with her fingers and a piece of copper, components of a spell he immediately recognized as Sending. “Hey Beau, it’s me-“ Fjord looked over to Beau to see her reaction. She was in the middle of flirting and jumped suddenly, looking around almost frantically. “I just wanted to let you know that Fjord and I are leaving, we’re going back to our room.”

Fjord watched Beau, saw her lips moved as she was looking around for Jester. Her eyes locked on them as she finished talking and Jester gave their friend a thumbs up. “Okay, let’s go.”

“What did she say?” Fjord asked as he let Jester push him towards the door.

“She wanted to know if she should stay with Caduceus and Yasha tonight.”

“And you gave her a thumbs up,” he clarified as they made their way through the crowd.

“Yep,” they stepped outside and the quiet was a welcome relief from the raucousness inside. “We don’t have to do anything besides make-out but it was very nice of Beau to make sure no one walks in. That would be weird.”

“Not the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in our group.”

“What’s weirder?”

“That time Molly walked into the room wearing a rug and then flashed us?”

Jester laughed, the sound bright and warm as they walked across the street towards the inn. “You’re right, that’s the weirdest thing. I can’t believe I forgot about that.”

“It was memorable,” Fjord grumbled good-naturedly. “You know, this wasn’t how I imagined this all happening.”

“Me neither,” she admitted, pushing the inn door open and waving at the woman at the desk on their way towards the steps. “In my mind, one of us dies.”


“It’s romantic,” Jester grinned at him over her shoulder. “In theory, one of us dies and then comes back to life and we realize that we don’t want to die without having had the chance to be together. Then there’s a big, dramatic kiss in the middle of a cavern surrounded by our friends who cheer for us.” She stopped at the top of the stairs and turned to face him, Fjord paused a few steps down so they were face to face. “But this works too.”

He had half a second to figure out what she was doing before she did it; Jester put her hands on either side of his face, leaned forward, and kissed him.

It took a moment for Fjord’s brain to catch up with his body. His hands were on her hips before he realized what he was doing, pulling her forward so she was a little off balance and leaning on him, her arms on his shoulders, wrists locked behind his neck.

The kiss was an easy, cool dip into a river. Nothing hurried or frantic as they found a rhythm between them. Fjord didn’t know how long they stood like that, testing the waters and learning each other, but eventually Jester’s fingers found their way into the hair at the nape of his neck, pulling just a little.

And something shifted inside of him, unlocked and slid open to release a feeling he hadn’t quite known lived within him.


Fjord moved up one step, then another, so he towered over Jester and the angle of the kiss changed. Her hands fell to his shoulders so he could feel her fingers digging into his muscle and holding on; he liked to think she was as wildly affected as he was.

“We should probably take this inside the room,” Jester suggested, plastered against him so he could feel the unsteadiness of her breathing.

“Right,” Fjord spoke in his own voice, the Vandren accent gone, because it felt wrong to have even that simple lie between them in the moment.

She smiled fondly up at him, “There you are, Fjord. I was wondering when you’d show up again.”

His own grin was a little crooked. “We have rooms 2, 3, and 6. Which one?”

“Six,” she decided instantly as she ran her hands down his arm, then linked her fingers with his. “I’d use another spell to tell Beau which room we’re in but I don’t have enough energy to do another one that powerful. Besides, I think she’ll figure out.”

Jester walked into the room and it was so familiar, this comradery, that it baffled Fjord a little. A kiss like that should change things, shouldn’t it? Instead it felt like any other night, but instead of going into a room with Cad, it was Jester.

“I’d honestly like to see her wrangle the rest of the group, ordering them into rooms,” he said as she took off her bag and cloak, throwing them haphazardly on the chair by the door.

With a laugh Jester sat down on the bed and began undoing her boots.

Fjord moved her little jacket to lay on the back of the chair and set the bag on the floor, settling on the seat with an ankle on his knee. They’d dropped all their weapons and stuff in one of the other rooms before they’d gone across the street for entertainment so both he and Jester were unarmed.

“I didn’t tell her why we were leaving,” she mused out loud. “So she might not get it.”

“Beau got it,” Fjord assured her. Beau was perceptive, more so than she let on, wasn’t that why she’d sent Jester over to him in the first place?

Jester dropped her boot and went to work on the other one. “Why are you over there?”

“Sometimes I just like watching you.”

She looked up and blinked at him, almost like he’d caught her off guard. “You’re being pretty smooth for someone who ignored my flirting for months.”

“I didn’t ignore it.”

Jester shook her head, amused. “Evade, then.”

“At first, it was because I didn’t think I worked right, you know? And I didn’t want to lead you on, or give you the wrong idea when I didn’t think it could go anywhere.”

“What was Avantika then?”

“In the kindest of terms, she was an experiment. I didn’t have to worry about hurting her feelings because I don’t think she had many outside of U’Kotoa, so in the end it didn’t really matter. I didn’t want to risk that kind of misstep with you.”

“And now?”

“Now? I’m so damn tired of pretending like I’m not half in love with you already.”

She gasped like the wind had been knocked out of her. “Fjord.”

“Again, not how I imagined this going, but I’m tired of waiting for the right time. Sometimes you just have to take the moment you’re given.”

Jester moved over a few inches on the bed, “Come here, Fjord.”

He got up slowly and made his way to the bed and sat down next to her. “Neither one of us had a gods-damned idea what we’re doing, Jester.”

“That’s true, but do you remember when we left Nicodranas? I’d never left the coast, and you hadn’t gone very far inland, so neither of us knew what we were doing, and you remember what we said?”

Fjord looked down at their hands, hers just a few inches from his, and linked his fingers with hers. “We said we’d figure it out together.”

She squeezed his hand once. “We’ll figure this out together, too. Also, I’ve read lots of books about sex, so that’ll help too.”

Fjord laughed, leaning forward to kiss her while her lips were still curved so he could taste the smile. Her hands went up and he could immediately feel her fingers in his hair once again, his own rested low on her back, near the curve of her hips.

The angle wasn’t right, it was just a little awkward the way their necks were twisted, but Jester pressed her tongue against his lips and the idea of changing positions dropped from his mind.

He surged against her, opening his mouth and running his tongue along hers to learn the taste. Fjord attempted to suck her lower lip, but forgot about his tusks and could feel the pressure of his teeth scraping along her skin. He pulled back suddenly, worried he’d hurt her. “Sorry, I’m not quite used to the tusks.”

“It’s okay, you didn’t cut me,” she assured him brightly. “And I’m not opposed to a little biting, we’ll have to try lots of things to figure out what we like and don’t like. And I’ll tell you if I don’t like something, and you can do the same, you know?”

“In that case, sitting like this is going to give me a crick in my neck.”

She giggled, “Good point. Do you have a better idea?”

Fjord looked around and when his eyes landed on the wall the bed was pressed against he had the niggle of a memory, “I do.” He swung his legs off the blanket and took off his boots before sliding back so he was pressed against the wall, legs stretched out in front of him.

Understanding what he was doing, Jester moved to where he was, swinging one leg over his so she was straddling him. “Better?” she asked as she settled, her weight on his legs. Any closer to his hips and she’d have been able to feel the beginning of an erection through his pants.

“Much better,” he put his hands on her knees, running them up her thighs beneath the skirt of her dress. “You know, when we were on the Mystake I thought about this more than once.”

She’d been fiddling with the hair at the back of his neck, but stopped and gave him a hard look. “If you mention Avantika, you should know I will kill you and wait until the very last possible moment to bring you back.”

Fjord smiled at the threat, almost believing her. He kept running his hands up her legs and wished she wasn’t wearing so many clothes. “I’m talking about after she was dead.”

“Oh, then keep going,” she said as she began undoing the buckles at his shoulder.

“What are you doing?”

“You’re wearing too many layers,” she informed him pertly as she pulled off his leather chest piece and dropped it on the ground next to the bed.

“So are you,” he pointed out but didn’t make a move to stop her.

She shrugged, barely repressing a smile as she worked at the buckles of the metal plates on his forearm. “I have my priorities, don’t distract me. You were saying about the Mystake?”

“I’d be laying in the captain’s bed,” he described, pressing kisses along her jaw and neck as he spoke, seeing if he could distract her from her self-appointed task. He tested those recently regrown tusks, scraping the edges against her neck and then soothing the spot with his tongue. When she arched her neck to the right to give him better access he could only conclude she enjoyed it. “And I’d picture you straddling me just like this-“

“What was I wearing in this daydream?” she interrupted, her eyes down as she unwound the red twine wrapped around the leathers on his forearm.

“Nothing,” he told her huskily when she started work on his left arm.

There was a small catch in her breath as her eyes flew up to meet his, her movements stilled with the metal on his forearm attached by one last buckle. It was a weird kind of power, knowing he could affect her like this with just his words.

Then again, talking had never been their weak point.

“I’m definitely wearing more than that now,” she acknowledged, her voice lower than he could ever remember hearing it. With a deep breath, she pushed off the last of his armor-and shit, if that wasn’t a metaphor for everything between them he didn’t know what was. “Tell me the rest of it.”

“Take off something first, we should at least be even.”

She pouted, but complied, taking off the leather cinch she wore around her waist and dropped it loudly on the floor beside his.

Distracted by the access to her body, Fjord reached up to touch her before continuing on with his little daydream. Her body was too wide for his hands to be able to span the width of her waist, but she was infinitely soft and cool beneath cotton and linen.

“Fjord,” she scolded, catching onto the fact that he’d gotten sidetracked.

He pulled his eyes away from the low neckline of her dress, but before he said anything he wrapped his fingers around the backs of her knee, pulling her closer to him so she was settled directly above his cock. Everything positioned right, but too many obstacles between them to make it good.

“I’d picture us just like this, with my hands on you.” He thought about how detailed he should be, how far down this line he should go, but she’d never turned away from any part of him and he very much doubted she’d do it now.

“We weren’t wearing anything, nothing separating us, so there wasn’t anything preventing me from burying my cock into your pussy.”

There was a quick inhale of breath from Jester, her thighs tightened around his in a kind of instinctive reaction. Fjord shifted his hands from her waist to her breasts, keeping his touch gentle until she reached up and covered his hand with hers, encouraging more.

He squeezed her tit, and when he released it he used his thumb to find her nipple, pebble hard beneath her clothes. Jester reached out to hold onto his shoulders, rocking against his growing erection.

This was desire, he realized with stark realization. The desperation beneath his skin, making his breathing unsteady and his hands shake. He wanted to tear the clothes off her body, get his mouth on her skin.

He wanted to taste her and make her scream.

“It wouldn’t be frantic,” he told her as he wrapped his fingers around the collar of her white chemise, a question in his eyes. She nodded once and he tugged it down to free her breasts, green skin covering blue. “We’d just rock slowly,” as an example he rolled his hip beneath her, pressing against her center again and again, “With the rolling of the ship.”

Jester was arched on top of him, her body moving quicker against his and he put his hands on her hips, intentionally slowing her down. “Did you come thinking about fucking me?”


“I have too.”

The hum in his head turned to a roar, Fjord wrapped his arm around Jester’s waist and flipped them over so she was on her back, legs open and spread beneath him so he was tucked between the vee of her thighs.

When he kissed her, it was no longer languid and lovely, it was frantic and desperate and she responded in kind, tugging at his shirt and tunic. “Take this off, Fjord,” she demanded, her hands sliding beneath the fabric to drag her nails down his abs. “I want to touch you.”

He wasn’t about to deny her anything. Not right now, probably not ever.

Fjord moved to his knees, resting back on his ankles, so he could strip to the waist.

She was immediately reaching for him, sitting up so she could touch him before he’d even completely removed his clothing. “You’re beautiful, Fjord.”

Beautiful, she said. And it was the first time he really believed her.

Jester ran her hands over his chest and stomach, pressed a wet kiss to the skin above his navel, scraping her nails down his side as she did.

Fjord reached down, worried she was going to keep going down and he’d embarrass himself before he had the chance to get her off, and cupped the back of her head to bring her back up to him.

He’d been honest before, when he’d told Jester he liked kissing. Sex was something he’d always been a bit wary of, but kissing was something he’d always enjoyed. The friction of lips, the slickness of tongues, tasting someone. For him, for someone who had drowned, exchanging breaths was more intimate than anything a person could do.

Jester moved against him and Fjord pulled back to see her remove her arms from the sleeves of her top, the fabric dropping to her hips. “I just wanted to feel you against me,” she explained as if he needed a reason.

She wrapped her arms around his middle so he could feel her breasts against his chest, the entirety of his focus was centered on the contact. “Kiss me again,” and in any other circumstance he might have teased her about how much like an order it sounded, but now wasn’t the time.

Wet and dirty, he kissed her liked he’d fuck her, like he’d imagined half a dozen times over the past few months. Sure, sometimes had been gentle and warm, but there had been a time or two when he’d held himself in his hand and pictured it wild and reckless.

He was a reckless man.

“Fjord,” she breathed as he lowered his mouth, following the line of her neck to her collarbone and lower. “I know you said you were kind of whatever about sex, but I would really like it if you’d put your dick in me now.”

His laugh was muffled against her skin. “I think that’s something I can arrange.”

She put her hand on his chest, her eyes earnest and wide. “We don’t have to if you don’t want to, I just wanted to let you know I wanted to.”

He framed her face with his hands, dropping all the masks he’d ever held up to hide himself so she’d see only honesty in his eyes. “I want to, Jester. If nothing else, I want to know what it’s like to be with someone I can’t live without.”

“Fuck, Fjord. You’re really good at this.”

“Better than your damn romance books,” he asked, keeping his voice light so she knew he was only teasing.

“We’ll see how the rest of the night goes,” she joked back, grinning as she laid down on the bed.

Fjord rolled his eyes as grabbed her ankle, pulling off one sock then another. “Can we get rid of these?” he asked, tugging on the tights she always wore beneath her dress.

“Please,” she lifted up her hips so Fjord could reach beneath the skirt and tug at the waistband, pulling it down so she was more than half naked with her torso bare and her dress hiked up to her waist.

Fjord couldn’t help but touch her, the pads of his fingers tracing up her legs to the center of her pleasure, and the closer he got to her pussy the tenser she became. “You doing okay, Jester?”

“Yes,” she pulled him down to her, kissing him roughly, scraping her incisors against his lip then running her tongue over it the same way he had done to her neck earlier. Together, he thought fondly even as he adjusted his erection in his pants, they’d figure it out together.

Jester ran her hands down his back, her fingers bumping along the length of his spine and then dipping beneath the waistband to his ass. He could feel the heat and the wetness of her against dick, through the single layer of his pants.

He wanted to rush, to be frantic and little unrestrained, but what if it was only ever like this once? What if this was the one chance he got to feel like this? He didn’t want to waste it, to throw it away, he wanted to savor everything.

And he wanted to make sure it was good for Jester. She deserved the best and she wanted him, so he’d be the one to give it to her.

He kissed his way down her neck, trying to find and remember all the places which had made her moan and whimper, squirm beneath him. “Fjord,” she murmured, her nails digging into his shoulders.

Over and over he rocked into her, his lips covered the blueberry dark nipple as he drove her up and further but he knew enough to know she’d need more than that to get off.

“I don’t-“ he stumbled over his words, so knocked sideways by her and what they were doing together. “I don’t know what to do. What you like.”

“Watch,” she whispered, her voice a low breath. “I’ll show you.”

Fjord leaned back again on his heel, stunned by what Jester was saying.

He watched her shift on the bed, reaching between her legs to finger herself.

“Fuck, Jester.”

“You can touch yourself too, Fjord.”

She teased herself, fingers brushing along the lips of her vagina, dipping into the wetness that had pooled in her slit, briefly touching her clit before moving on. “Will you play with your tits?”

Jester looked up at him through heavy lidded eyes, “Only if you touch yourself too.”

Fjord fumbled with the laces of his pants, pulling at them until he’d freed his cock, rock hard and leaking precum. He licked the palm of his hand and used it to lubricate himself, tightening his fist as he watched Jester cover one of her breasts with her hands, squeezing hard as she moved her hips against her hands.

He observed how she touched herself, and in the back of his mind it was like watching Vandren pull on the rigging, he learned by watching.

She pressed hard on her clit, her fingers twisting and playing her nipples and still she watched him, desire burning bright in her eyes. “Are you going to fuck me now, Captain?”

Here nearly came right then, held himself back by the skin of his teeth.

“You’re going to kill me,” he bit out before he kissed her hard, tongue pushing into her mouth as his hand covered her breast, doing what she had done; squeezing hard, pinching her nipples until she whimpered against his mouth.

“Too much?” he asked, forcing himself to string more than one thought together.

“I should have said this earlier,” she managed to say. “Rock is the stop word. Either one of us can say it if we need to stop or take a break or if things go too far. If I don’t say ‘rock’ assume I’m enjoying it as much as you are.”

She looked down, almost bashful. “You are enjoying yourself, aren’t you?”

He took her hand from her clit where she was still fondling herself, he could feel the slickness of her on her fingers and then on his hand as he wrapped her hand around his penis so she could feel exactly how hard he was, how much he was enjoying it. “Gods, yes, Jester.”

He took himself in hand and lined his cock up to her pussy and moved slowly, hissing a breath as she surrounded him. “Tell me if I need to stop, or go slower.”

She moved beneath him, getting more comfortable he thought, until she spoke. “I’m not fragile, you don’t have to be gentle with me.”

“I thought it hurt the first time?”

“Not always, not if you’re with someone who knows what they’re doing.”

He was only an inch inside of her but the fact they were able to have any kind of conversation when all he wanted to do was pound into her was astounding. “I think we’ve both established I don’t have any idea what I’m doing.”

“I guess you didn’t finger me so you didn’t feel how wet I was,” she raised her left hand and touched her fingers to his lips and instinctively he opened his mouth and sucked, tasting the slickness still on the pads of her finger. “Trust me, Fjord, you know what you’re doing.”

“Captain,” he corrected her before he could talk himself out of it. “If we’re being honest about what works and what doesn’t, I nearly came when you called me Captain.”

“And I like hearing you talk,” she told him, her smile a little wicked as she added, “Captain.”

“Gods,” he muttered, sliding himself the rest of the way inside her. He was still worried he would hurt her, but the sound she made wasn’t one of pain, but of pleasure and her muscles clenched around him. “You feel so damn good around me, Jester.”

“So good,” she gritted out, her hands clenched around the blankets. “Will you touch me?” she asked as she fumbled for his hand, guiding his fingers to her clit. “Right here, while you thrust.”

Fjord put one hand on the wall above Jester’s head, kept his other hand where it was as he slowly slid out of her, pressing against the nub as he did. Then he slammed back into her, pulling out one slow inch at a time.

“Faster,” she begged, trying to find more friction, more speed. “Please.”

He thought about saying no, about drawing out the pleasure and the torture, but he didn’t think he’d be able to last much longer. He stopped touching her long enough to grab her ankles, hooking first one leg and then another around his waist. “I don’t want to fuck you into the wall, so hang on.”

When he started moving again, it was with all the wild, unrestrained passion he’d ever felt.

Jester covered her breasts with her hands, covering them completely and kneading them beneath her palms, occasionally tugging at the nipples. Like a craving he couldn’t shake, Fjord needed to taste her; batting away one of her hands he covered the dark blue nipple with his mouth, careful with his tusks, and licked the hard bud before sucking it into his mouth.

“Captain,” she moaned as she tugged on his hair, a tick he was beginning to realize was her version of encouragement. “My captain,” she mumbled under her breath as she climaxed beneath him.

It took every bit of control he had not to come immediately as her pussy pulsed around him. “Fuck. I’m going to make you come again, Jester.”

“Well, I’m not going to stop you, so feel free to try.”

He reached underneath Jester and raised her up so her hips lifted off the bed, changing the angle and drove into her again and again. Fjord watched with satisfaction as Jester searched for purchase, grabbing first at the blankets and then his torso.

“You still with me, darling?” he asked, trying to sound charming through gritted teeth.

“Just barely,” she answered, raising her hips to meet his pelvis. “You’re fucking my brains out, Captain.”

“Touch yourself.”

There was a mischievous glint in her eyes as she dug her nails a little deeper into his back. “I thought you were going to make me come again. Now I have to help?”

Fjord let out a soft sound of amusement, shaking his head. “Fair enough.”

He moved quicker and harder, moving her hips a little higher to keep her off balance and clinging to him. He liked being her anchor, being the center of the storm they’d both dived into.

“You feel better than anything else I’ve felt,” he told her, slowing down so she could hear him. “Hot and tight around my cock.”

“Gods, Fjord.”

He stopped completely, “What did you call me?”

“Captain,” she corrected, trying to move against him but the angle he kept her at made it almost impossible for her to get any kind of leverage.

Fjord made a hobby of toying with her clit, barely there touches against the bundle of nerves. Almost, but never quite touching. “You’re so wet for me, I bet the people in the next room can hear how wet you are.”

He slid out and in again for emphasis, her muscles fluttering against his cock.

“Hear that, darling? How did you keep Beau from hearing when you fucked yourself? Or did you have to wait until she left the room, do it quick and dirty to get a little relief?”

Jester didn’t answer the question, but he hadn’t really expected her to. If he was doing this right, she would barely be able to form a thought, much less a response. She bit her lip and he wished he knew of a spell that would let her scream, let her be as loud as she wanted, and kept the rest of the world from hearing.

He wanted to hear her shout his name when she came.

“Did you think about me going down on you?” he asked casually, adding a little bit of pressure to her clit as he started pumping again. Jester tried to get him to go faster, tried to press her pelvis into his hand to increase the pressure but he’d gotten to a place of total control.

He could keep this up forever, just to keep her close.

“When you touched yourself did you imagine it was hands, my tongue? I’ve thought about it,” he admitted as he started moving faster, keeping the rhythm of his hand and his dick separate, never quite giving her relief. “I’ve thought about tasting every part of you, of you begging, desperate for me. Are you desperate for me, Jester?”

She nodded.

“Say it,” and this time it sounded like he was the one begging but fuck it, he didn’t care. He needed to hear it.

“Yes,” she managed, her breath coming out in a rush. “I’m desperate for you.”

“Me too,” he all but whispered. “I’m desperate for you, too.”

He let go of that control, pounded into her and he’d worry he’d hurt her but she said she’d tell him to stop if he crossed a line and he trusted her to know her own limits.

He’d reached his.

In and out, slick and easy, the wet friction a kind of blessing.

“Come for me, darling,” he crooned, pressing hard on her clit and slid deeper into her than he could ever remember being. Surrounded and drowning. “Come, and I’ll follow you.”

She stiffened in his arm, her body arching like she’d been touched by lightning, mouth open in quiet scream.

Fjord was not silent, he grunted as he drove into her, the orc blood he was always wary of boiled in his veins but he didn’t fear it. He’d never hurt her, couldn’t hurt her, and it took only a few more thrusts for him to fall of the same cliff.

He cursed a few gods as he emptied into her, his nails creating a permanent mark in the wall.

Collapsing on top of her, it took him a solid two minutes before he was close enough to his right mind to be able to form words.

“Okay,” Fjord said, his mouth near her ear as he rested his head on the mattress. “I think might understand now what the fuss is all about.”

Beneath him, Jester laughed.


In the morning, Fjord woke to Jester pressed against his back.

Her arms weren’t wrapped around him, but that was mostly because Jester slept in a small ball, curled in on herself. Currently, one of her elbows was pressing into his back.


“Hm?” she asked, still half asleep.

“You mind moving your elbow? You’re going to give me bruise.”

“Then we’re even,” she mumbled, and he could feel her breath on his shoulder.

Turning over he looked at her, she was wearing a nightgown thing she wore whenever they stayed at an inn. “I bruised you?”

She smiled into his eyes, hands now tucked under her cheek. “On my hips. I don’t know if they’re visible but I can feel them.”


Jester shrugged the shoulder she wasn’t resting on. “I don’t mind, it’s a nice reminder. You’ve got a few of your own.”

“A few what?”

“Reminders,” she explained, poking his side.

Fjord moved the blanket and saw there were in a fact a few marks in his skin from Jester’s nails. Not particularly deep, but visible to anyone who knew where to look. “Will you look at that.”

“Any regrets?”

“No,” he answered immediately.

“Has your view on sex changed?”

“Well, I got more of that than I ever would have on my own,” he answered carefully.

She smiled, “It’s okay if it’s not something you want to do regularly. It can be a nice thing we do for special reasons.”

“I just didn’t know it could be like that,” he explained. “Nothing I’ve experienced has ever come anywhere close.”

“If I wasn’t so comfortable and I’d give you a high five because we both deserve it.”

Fjord laughed, “We’ll figure it out. How are you?”

She looked briefly confused, “I’m fine. Why?”

“You’re checking in with me, so I’m checking in with you,” he informed her dryly. “You’ve been reading romancing novels for half the trip and I’m a bumbling sailor who doesn’t entirely know what he’s doing.”

Jester gave him an unamused look, rolling her eyes. “You have to stop doing that Fjord.”

“Doing what?”

“Talking yourself down.”

He knew it was a knee jerk response, and not the healthiest, but it was one of his oldest habits and it would take a long time to break. “Sorry, I’ll work on that.”

She didn’t look like she believed him but she gratefully let it go, though he imagined it was a conversation they’d have again later. “But to answer your question, I realize romance novels are not exactly reality. I wasn’t expecting that. But it was really, really good, Fjord. Like cinnamon pastries from Nicodranas good.”

Fjord snorted. “Anyone else might be confused and bewildered by that statement, Jester, but I’m going to take it for the compliment it is.”


He thought about kissing her, she was so soft and warm-the warmest Jester ever got anyway-but before he got a chance to follow through on the thought there was a loud, indignant banging on their door.

“Hey, assholes! Are you awake?”

Jester broke out in giggles, meanwhile Fjord mentally shifted, using Vandren’s accent to yell at the grumpy voice on the other side of the door. “Piss off, Beau.”

“We’re going downstairs to eat, are you lovebirds going to join us?”

“We’ll been down in a minute, Beau,” Jester called with more friendliness than Fjord felt at the moment. “Thank you!”

Fjord heard something like a grumble before he heard retreating steps, louder than was strictly necessary. “We probably should head down.”

“We worked up an appetite last night,” she added sagely, a smile in her eyes as she looked at him. “Do you ever get horny?”

“On occasion.”

“Well, if you ever get in the mood to do this again, I’m game.”

He thought about the selflessness of the offer, because she could have asked a different way that made him feel obliged or guilty, but instead she offered herself and her time and her affection whenever he was interested. “Same, Jester.”


“Look, I might not have the same kind of sweet tooth as you, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to eat a pastry when it’s put in front of me.”

She grinned and wiggled a little in amusement. “Are you going to eat me, Fjord?”

He tried for nonchalant as he shifted on the bed to look up at the ceiling, but he was probably blushing at least a little. “It’s on the list and we didn’t get to it last night.”

“Are we making lists of stuff we want to do?” she sounded excited and he couldn’t help but smile. “Because I’ve kind of had a mental one going, but I can write it down so we can check stuff off as we do it.”

He grabbed her wrist when she sat up because he thought she was going to rummage around for pen and paper to immediately make the list. “We should probably get dressed and head down now. The list can wait.”

“Okay,” she turned to look at him, a rare hint of hesitation in her eyes. “Are we a thing now, Fjord?”

“Yeah, Jester. We’re a thing.”

“Good,” she leaned forward and kissed him, quick and friendly. “Can you get my leather? I think it’s on your side of the bed with the rest of your armor.”

Fjord got up and fixed the pants he’d slept in and then started sorting through the clothes, tossing Jester’s things towards her, and they kept up a string of conversation as they got dressed and headed towards the stairs.

He stopped before descending, Jester nearly running into him. “What? Is something wrong?”

“A lot of shit has gone down in my life,” he explained, staring at the steps. “The day I met Vandren, I didn’t realize how my life was going to change. The day the ship went down was just like any other. Most of the time, in the moment, you don’t realize your life is taking a turn until years later. It’s weird to know.”

“Know what?” she asked softly.

“To know the exact moment, the exact place, your life changed for the better.”

She looked confused until Fjord moved down a few steps so he was standing in the same place he’d been last night when she’d kissed him. When she realized what he was saying, her face softened, and she once again put her hands on his face. There was a host of lavender starlight in her eyes. “I didn’t say this last night, but I want you to know, me too.”

“Me too, what?”

“You said you were tired of pretending you weren’t half in love with me. Me too.”

“The tired part, or the half in love part?”

“The half in love part,” she answered with a smirk. “I never pretended I wasn’t in love with you, Fjord. In fact, if you ask the rest of the group, I think they’d say I was pretty obvious about it.”

He rested his hands on her hips, the touch not yet familiar, but comfortable just the same. “It was kind of hard to believe.”

She shrugged, completely unconcerned. “I’m not worried, I’ll convince you sooner or later,” she wagged her eyebrows. “I’m very charming.”

Fjord chuckled, grabbing one of her hands, “I look forward to it. Come on, I’m starving.”

Together they walked down to the small dining hall, a tiny room tucked into the side of the building exclusive to the inn’s residents. The Mighty Nein was taking up half the space.

Caleb didn’t look up from his books, and Nott was too busy eating to notice anything.

But Caduceus, Yasha, and Beau all looked up at their entrance, three sets of eyes looking down at his and Jester’s held hands. Beau was the only one who reacted, she looked them up and down, and Fjord had the distinct feeling she was checking to make they were both okay.

With a nod, as if acknowledging something to herself, she moved her chair so Fjord and Jester could squeeze in at the table. “Is that a piece of Fjord’s armor?” Beau asked when Jester sat next to her. “Is it part of his armor if it’s just random rope that doesn’t serve a purpose?”

“Hey Beau, what the fuck is the purpose of the ribbon tied around your staff?”

“Don’t be mean,” Beau quipped back, “Some of us had a good time last night, and some of us got turned down by hot dancers and had to listen to Caduceus snore.”

“I always kind of liked it,” Fjord commented, draping his arm along the back of Jester’s chair.

“Great, then you can go back to sleeping in his room,” she challenged, crossing her arms with a knowing smirk.

“Nah, I’m good.”

“I hate you,” she announced before getting up with her plate and going towards the breakfast buffet set up at the far end of the room.

“You know, I never had a sister, but I imagine she’s what it would be like. I don’t hate it,” Fjord mused out loud. “Did you cut off a piece of my rope?”

“Yes,” she answered as he grabbed her arm and looked at the small piece of red around her fingerless gloves.

“Without asking?” his voice an overdramatized scold.

Jester narrowed her eyes at him, “If Beau hadn’t pointed it out would have you even noticed?”

“You know what, I’m hungry,” he picked up his plate, and immediately Jester picked up hers and held it out to him with an expectant look. With a exaggerated grumble he took her plate and headed towards the food.

He wasn’t about to deny her anything.