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keep it all in the moment (before any hearts'll get broken)

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Sabran looked at her with an expression Ead had never seen. All the melancholy faded, leaving her curious and intent. Ead could see every splinter of green in her eyes, every lash, the candles trapped inside her pupils. The firelight danced on her shoulder. As Ead chased it with her fingertips, Sabran leaned into her touch.

‘Ead,’ she said, ‘stay with me.’

Her voice was almost too soft to hear, but Ead felt each word in her very flesh. Their lips were close now, a breath apart. Ead dared not move for fear that she would shatter this moment. Her skin was tender, aching at the feel of Sabran pressed against her.

Sabran framed her face between her hands. In her gaze was both a question and her fear of the answer.

As black hair brushed her collarbone, Ead thought of the Prioress and the orange tree. She thought of what Chassar would say if he knew how her blood sang for the pretender, who prayed to the empty tomb of the Mother. Scion of Galian the Deceiver. Sabran drew her close, and Ead kissed the Queen of Inys as she would kiss a lover.


She felt the wash of gooseflesh on Sabran. The nightgown slipped from her shoulder, farther, until it came to rest around her hips [...] She kissed her neck and the naked place behind her ear, and Sabran breathed her name, head tilting back to bare the hollow of her throat. Moonlight filled it up like milk (The Priory of the Orange Tree, 385-386).


"Ead," Sabran breathed, and Ead felt the sound of her name curling off Sabran's tongue like the stroke of fingers down her spine. She only just managed to contain a full-body shudder before she was licking at the pale skin of Sabran's neck again, aching to hear her queen call for her once more.

Sabran did not disappoint.

"Ead," she repeated, long fingers plucking at Ead's shift, tilting her head to grant access to more of her neck. "Please."

Ead could no more deny Sabran's breathless plea than stop her heart from jerking violently in her ribcage like it was a half to Sabran's whole. She reluctantly lifted away to peer down at her, excitement heating her belly and tingling under her skin.

For a brief moment, the tingling reminded her of how it had felt to have her siden, to experience so much of everything beyond herself. And she decided that if it were blasphemy to compare siden to the way it felt to be so attuned to Sabran, to want her with every fiber of her being, she would gladly blaspheme.

Sabran looked up at her, cheeks as pink as Ead felt hers were hot, pupils so big her green eyes nearly matched the inky black of her hair fanning against the white of the sheets. Her nightgown lay bunched around her waist, and her breasts, fuller now than they'd been the first time Ead had seen Sabran naked, heaved with her quick breaths.

Ead could almost swear she could see her pulse thrumming just below delicate skin.

"Please, what?" Ead asked lowly, tearing her eyes away from Sabran's breasts. She licked out at her lips and felt her body grow even more hot when Sabran's dark, dark eyes flickered down to watch the flit of her tongue.

"Undress," Sabran ordered, voice steady even as the same pretty pink of her cheeks blotched up on her chest.

Ead pressed a quick kiss to the corner of Sabran's mouth, then hurried to comply, sitting up to yank her shift off. It hadn't even hit the floor before she was eagerly leaning back down to fit their mouths together again. Kissing Sabran felt like tasting eternity, and she was keen on revisiting the sensation, but Sabran stopped her with a gentle hand.

"Undress me, too," she said, voice sounding oddly strained as she trained her eyes to where her hand rested against Ead's skin, milk-white to acorn-brown. Her hand slowly drifted to the side and she stroked curious fingers along the slight swell of Ead's breast.

Ead sucked in a sharp breath, but otherwise made no other sound as Sabran cautiously trailed her fingers over her. Her body wracked with a tremor and she felt a tightening in her breast when Sabran brushed her thumb lightly over a dark brown nipple. She had to drop to her forearms when the tremor took up residence in her arms and her wrists threatened to give out.

Sabran almost seemed to lose herself in touching Ead, then, forgetting that she'd ordered Ead to undress her. Her lips parted in wonder, glistening with the saliva Ead now knew was as sweet as the touch of her hand, as the upward turn of her mouth, as the sound of her laugh. Her eyes were glassy as she stroked and rubbed and pinched and rolled Ead's hard nipple between thumb and forefinger.

And all the while Ead kept herself as still as possible, as quiet as possible, submitting herself to the way Sabran seemed to want to explore this part of her body, air leaving her in light puffs and hips rocking down in minute, helpless movements whenever Sabran's touch made her feel too molten.

Eventually, Ead could hardly stand Sabran's attentions any longer and she had to clear her throat, arms shaking even braced as she was on the flat of her forearms.

"Your Majesty," she said, voice coming out higher and far more affected than she'd planned.

"Sabran," Sabran corrected, fingers splayed along the curve of Ead's breast and thumb circling at a stiff, aching nipple. "I would hear my name from your lips."

"Sabran," Ead said, failing to resist the urge to lean into Sabran's touch. "Ah, if I may undress you as you ordered…?"

Sabran hummed, thumb still tracing against her skin, and Ead realized shortly after that she'd acknowledged but hadn't registered her words.

"Sabran," Ead repeated, shifting her weight to one side so she could free a hand to cup her cheek and encourage Sabran to look into her eyes.

Their eyes met and Sabran chose then to tweak at the stiff peak of her breast, causing Ead's hips to stutter into hers. The glassiness in Sabran's eyes faded, eclipsed by a raw hunger when their hips met.

Ead understood very well how she felt.

"I'm going to undress you now," she stated.

Sabran swallowed and nodded. Her hand fell away and Ead took the opportunity to shimmy her nightgown the rest of the way off, dropping it to the floor as the twin to her own.

And then they were skin to skin and there were no more words.

Ead had let Sabran touch her as she'd wanted, and now it was her turn. She parted Sabran's mouth with her own, licking in to indulge in the honey-sweet taste of her, sliding the hand at her cheek down to caress the soft skin at the side of her breast.

Sabran's sigh was lost in Ead's mouth, the slightest hint of a pleased noise slipping out when Ead rubbed a thumb across her nipple and slowly rolled their hips together.

It was but the slightest noise, and still it stoked the kindling embers in Ead's belly into a wild blaze within moments.

Ead scraped her teeth against Sabran's lower lip, tugging at it and reveling in the way it made Sabran writhe underneath her, made her breath gust out with the sound of a dove taking flight. She dropped kiss after wet kiss down her jaw and neck--pausing for a moment to dip her tongue into the hollow of Sabran's throat to taste the moonlight pooling there--before sliding lower. Low enough to lay gentle kisses to Sabran's swollen breasts, low enough for Ead to pause with her mouth hovering over a full, tender nipple, low enough to look up at Sabran for permission and feel her lungs constrict from the heat of her gaze.

Ead had faced two dragons, had looked them in the eye as she'd sworn to protect her queen, but it was only now, under the intensity of Sabran's gaze, that she felt weak.

Sabran's perfect teeth sunk into a kiss-bruised lower lip. She reached down and brushed a few errant curls behind Ead's ear, letting her fingers linger just behind the shell, thumb caressing her chin, hand cool against the heat of Ead's skin.

Ead, ever patient, waited, a breath away from putting her mouth on Sabran's nipple, senses fully attuned to her even without her siden.

Sabran blinked slowly, then nodded.

Ead leaned in and took dusky pink into her mouth.

The gasp that leapt out of Sabran's throat sounded too loud in the quiet of the Great Bedchamber, and the queen clapped her free hand over her mouth, meeting Ead's wide eyes with her own. The warm pliability of their bodies evaporated just as quickly as spilled water in the deserts of the Ersyr. They grew stiff with caution, straining their ears for the sound of an alert beyond the heavy wooden door.

Five beats of nothing but silence as Ead dared not even breathe.

Five more beats and yet another five more before she finally let herself relax, tongue inadvertently softening and slicking over the nipple caught in her mouth.

This time Sabran's gasp was muffled, but Ead still heard it like she'd made sound by her ear. She carefully sucked and watched, riveted, as Sabran arched for her, imagining how it would feel to actually have her breath tickling hot in her ear, to actually hear her impassioned noises, lilting and more melodic than any virginal.

The hand behind her ear snaked into her hair and clenched tight, the slight sting sending a flare of heat zipping between Ead's legs.

Ead released Sabran's nipple with a wet sound, head swirling like she'd had too much dark wine, and the fist in her hair loosened.

That wouldn't do.

Ead nuzzled at the hard bud, staring deeply into Sabran's eyes before gently closing her teeth around it and tugging.

Sabran's fist clenched tight again, hand heavy as she tried to press Ead closer, a low noise slipping past the palm covering her mouth.

Ead swallowed a groan, hips jumping into the mattress. She turned her head to give the same treatment to Sabran's other breast, and her reaction was somehow even better than before. She squeezed her thighs together, head pushing back into the pillows, a warm sigh whispering out of her like silks rubbing together.

Ead dragged her tongue and scraped her teeth over her nipples until Sabran's hand fell away from her mouth and she was gasping more than she was breathing, nostrils flaring, thighs squirming, eyes unfocused. She kept clenching and unclenching the hand in Ead's hair, almost as if she couldn't decide whether she wanted more to keep her head pressed to her breasts or to drag her back up.

But eventually, her writhing increased to a frequency that could not be ignored, soft noises catching in her throat, the fingers of her free hand clawing at Ead's naked back.

"Ead," Sabran whined softly, hips shifting against the sheets and lifting up to meet her torso.

Ead's stomach swooped when she felt the faint brush of hair along her skin, then swooped again when wetness smeared across her lower belly. She let out a shaky exhale at about the same time Sabran moaned quietly and repeated the motion, once, twice.

The third time, Ead surged upwards to fit their mouths together again, swallowing Sabran's tiny, helpless noise as she grabbed at her hip to keep her wetness pressed to her belly for just a beat longer.

Oh Mother, Ead wanted--

"Sabran," she murmured against her soft lips, feeling a thrill spark down her back when Sabran slipped her tongue out to lick at her lower lip. She slid a hand down between their bodies, fingers dancing somewhat uncertainly against coarse hair. She wasn't sure if she was allowed to keep going.

It wasn't too late to stop if this wasn't really what Sabran wanted.

She pressed her forehead to Sabran's, their hot breath mingling in the space between them, and slipped her hand slightly lower, fingertips just brushing against damp.

"Do you want this, Sabran?" she asked carefully, trying to keep her tone neutral, controlled, even though a deep ache was settling between her legs, the insides of her upper thighs cool with the slick starting to overflow from the very center of her. Even though she could feel her blood singing with the desire to know Sabran in the way lovers do. Even though her fingers twitched for want of touching her more, touching her deeper.

Sabran didn't answer in words. She rolled her hips up, dragging her wetness firmly against Ead's fingers with her breath hitch hitch hitching, digging blunt nails into the meat of Ead’s shoulder to urge her into action. She whimpered plaintively and Ead shuddered--the insistent throb between her own legs responding to the sound of Sabran’s voice--and nosed kisses towards her ear.

“Okay,” she murmured, then closed her lips and teeth around the lobe, fingers dipping lower and slipping easily through the slick pooling between her thighs. They bumped against a little nub and Sabran let out a harsh breath, raspy, thighs jumping up to bracket Ead’s hips.

Ead froze. “Was that--”

“Do that again,” Sabran interrupted, voice deliciously low.

Ead let out a shaky breath and did as ordered, slowly dragging the length of her fingers against the faintly pulsing bud. She had known of its existence--Ersyri anatomy lessons were much more comprehensive than Inysh--but hadn’t realized that contact would incite such a reaction, especially since she’d never had much cause or occasion to explore the one between her own legs.

But, now.

Sabran tossed her head to the side to bury her teeth into Ead’s forearm, muffling a soft moan into her skin as her hips jerked into Ead's hand with each stroke of her fingers. Her ears were bright red even in the flickering candlelight and her quiet noises of pleasure spurred Ead on until she was pressing firmly at the swollen nub, her own hips gently rocking into nothing as she circled and rubbed and did everything she could to keep Sabran crying out into her arm.

She only realized something was happening when Sabran’s sighing sounds slowly tapered off, traded out for a quick catch in her breath, for an unstoppable quivering in her thighs, for the bite of her nails and teeth as her body drew tighter and tighter. The throbbing nub under Ead’s fingers grew stiffer, twitching harder until some transcendent force pulled taut inside of Sabran and she arched beautifully, suspended for a long, breathless moment before the tension shattered like dropped glass. And for a sacrilegious moment, as Ead watched her tremble and quake and attempt to stifle her satisfied whimpers, Ead wondered if Sabran were not the scion of the Deceiver, but rather, somehow, a divine descendant of the Mother.

A tiny whine, coupled with a languid roll of Sabran’s hips, broke the bubble of Ead’s sacrilege and she snapped her attention back to the way Sabran looked underneath her, fresh off of a wave of bliss, cheeks and chest rosy, eyes hazy and glazed but so, so green. She rocked her hips up into Ead’s hand again, blinking slow and lazy, teeth catching at her lower lip… and Ead realized.

She gently rubbed a circle around the stiff nub under her fingers, letting out a soft moan when Sabran arched into her and pressed their chests together.

“Again?” she asked, though she already knew the answer.

“Yes,” Sabran breathed, wrapping her arms around Ead’s shoulders and pulling her down so that they were breast to breast, hard nipples dragging together.

Ead sighed as the contact sent a pleasurable heat lancing through her, reminding her of the ache between her legs, then started rubbing in earnest again, eager to make Sabran fall apart under her ministrations once more. But after only a short while, Sabran shifted fitfully before hooking her legs over her back.

“Ead,” she whined, coaxing their hips together with the ankles crossed at the small of her back. “Ead, I want--”

Ead slowed the circling of her fingers, dipping low to collect some of her wetness to ease the friction. She had a feeling she knew what Sabran wanted but still hoped to hear her say it.

"What do you want?" she asked, planting soft kisses to her forehead, eyelids, cheeks.

Sabran chased her mouth with a quiet noise of discontent. "I want your-- I want--" Her cheeks flushed darker the longer she floundered

"Fingers," she eventually blurted, face an adorable mix of annoyed and embarrassed. She dropped her voice to little more than a whisper. "I want… your fingers inside me."

Ead pressed a pleased smile to Sabran's warm cheek. Then, because she could, she kissed her deeply, sliding her tongue against Sabran's and scraping her teeth along her lower lip.

When she pulled away, Sabran kept her eyes closed, granting Ead the time to take in the regal cut of her jaw, the perfect arch of her dark brows, her kissable pink lips with their delicate cupid's bow. She was the most beautiful woman Ead had ever laid eyes upon.

Sabran's eyes were unfocused when she finally opened them, a dazed smile tugging the corners of her pretty mouth upwards.

"Inside?" she requested dreamily, pressing up into Ead's hand, command turned question as she licked at her lips, no doubt tasting Ead on them.

Instead of answering, Ead slipped her fingers lower, coating her fingers in her wetness and gently exploring until she was fairly confident that she'd found where Sabran wanted her.

"Here?" she asked, just to be absolutely certain, stroking at the spot with the pad of one finger and marveling at the way she could feel Sabran responding to her slightest touch.

"Yes," Sabran gasped, clutching at her back and digging her heels in. "Yes, there, please. Inside."

Ead slowly, slowly pressed in with one finger, encountering just a hint of resistance before slipping past her entrance and easily sliding in almost to the knuckle.

The noise Sabran made as she entered was one she’d never forget, hiccuping and breathy, like she was breaking apart and being put together all over again. Ead had never heard anything so holy.

She’d also never felt anything like being inside Sabran, never felt anything like the clinging, wet heat of her most intimate place. With the way Sabran was digging her nails into her back, urging her forward with her heels, wrapping so hotly around her finger, it seemed almost as if all of her was doing its best to pull Ead closer, take her deeper, drag her in.

Ead was suddenly intensely jealous of Lievelyn for getting to know Sabran like this.

But then Sabran was nuzzling a kiss to her jaw, whining low in her throat, and husking out, “More. I can take more,” and Ead could think of nothing but Sabran.

She carefully pulled her finger out with the intent to return with another, but Sabran let out such a distressed, bereaved whimper at the loss that Ead felt her chest scraping hollow and raw. She quickly fit two fingers back inside to mend her mistake, peppering Sabran’s face with apologetic kisses.

“Sorry, sorry, I’m sorry,” she mumbled between kisses, clenching her thighs to alleviate the ache between her legs and trying not to lose focus with the way Sabran was squeezing around her fingers.

“I know. Just--” Sabran gritted out, and Ead lifted away to look at her. Her hair was messy from the way she’d been tossing her head against the pillows, cheeks rosy pink as she licked and licked at her lips. “Just. Please, move,” she implored, the heat of her tugging at Ead’s fingers.

So Ead moved, pulling out until only the pads of her fingers were inside, then slowly pressing back in again, eyes flitting all over Sabran's face for any sign of discomfort.

"Yes," Sabran hissed, dropping her hips back into the mattress, eyelids drooping with pleasure. “Again.”

And with that endorsement, Ead started working her fingers in and out with purpose. She wanted to be slow and gentle, but Sabran seemed intent on taking her harder and faster, tiny noises of frustration catching in her throat as she drove her hips up to meet Ead’s hand like it wasn’t quite enough each time she pressed in.

Ead was nothing if not adaptable and she quickly adjusted to give Sabran what she wanted, increasing the speed of her thrusts until she wasn’t even pulling her fingers out at all, just bearing into her with her palm pressing against her swollen nub.

She knew she had done the right thing when Sabran raked her nails down her back and buried her teeth into the meat of her shoulder, stifling her overwhelmed noises in what Ead was quickly realizing was Sabran’s favorite way to keep herself quiet.

It was growing to be her favorite method too, the sparks of pain only serving to spur her on and stoke the fire in her belly. She grunted, bracing herself against the mattress, and drove her fingers into Sabran again and again and again.

Ead could feel sweat beading along her hairline by the time Sabran’s thighs started shaking again. She grinned, redoubling her efforts and adding a curl of her fingers.

With a deliciously painful clench of her jaw, teeth sinking further into Ead’s skin, Sabran arrived once more to that elevated plane of sheer bliss. She shook and trembled, harsh breaths tearing out of her throat and gusting hot and damp around the skin of Ead’s arm.

Ead collapsed on top of her, tired of holding herself up and thrusting into Sabran. She nosed at her ear, unable to help herself from murmuring, Beautiful, before she took her lobe into her mouth.

Sabran shuddered, tightening around her fingers in an involuntary pulse to keep her seated deep inside. She let out a shaky breath and finally unclenched her jaw, releasing Ead's arm.

"Again," she mumbled, body tug tug tugging once more.

Ead hummed in acknowledgment and licked at the shell of her ear, squeezing her thighs together before swiping her thumb across her twitching bud.

Sabran sighed softly, lifting her hips up in a slow roll, wet heat caressing Ead’s fingers, and this time, she didn’t seem to mind how slow she went.

Ead circled and circled her bud with her thumb, leaving her fingers inside and curling in languid strokes each time Sabran pressed her hips back into the mattress to draw out quiet, shuddering gasps. With Ead’s thumb dedicated to giving her nub attention, it took a significantly shorter amount of time for Sabran’s legs to start shaking.

When she fell apart with Ead’s tongue flicking hotly at her ear, thumb rolling tight, and fingers curling up, it was with a low, rumbling, satisfied noise and a surprising amount of wetness gushing past Ead's palm.

She waited for Sabran to stop clenching around her fingers, then carefully pulled out to inspect them.

The evidence of Sabran’s release was all over her hand and she was suddenly struck with the urge to taste it. So, with Sabran’s hooded eyes on her, she curiously sucked her fingers into her mouth.

Sabran was salty, tangy, and unbelievably delightful. Ead moaned and slicked her tongue between her fingers, trying to get more of her taste onto her tongue.

Sabran watched her all the while, quiet whimpers slipping from parted lips, hips bucking unsteadily upwards each time Ead dragged her tongue indulgently up one of her fingers.

All too soon, Ead finished cleaning her fingers off. She frowned and let out a tiny, unhappy noise, but noticed how hazy Sabran’s eyes were, how she was nibbling at her lower lip and blinking slow, cheeks pink as she stared at the way Ead licked at her hand.

“Can I taste you?” Ead asked in a burst of confidence, slipping her hand back down and swiping through Sabran’s wetness to make her point.

Sabran’s eyes stayed firmly attached to her mouth, even with Ead’s hand between her legs. “What?” she asked, hardly more than a whisper as she nibbled and blinked and stared.

“I’d like to taste you, directly,” Ead explained, slowly sliding her fingers through Sabran’s petals. She nudged at her bud for good measure and smiled when Sabran’s eyes fluttered shut with a quiet sigh. She wet her lips and put her mouth by her ear.

“I want to put my mouth on you,” she husked.

“Oh, Saint,” Sabran gasped, nub twitching adorably against the pad of Ead’s finger.

Ead grinned and mapped the dips of her ear with her tongue, listening to Sabran's hitching breath, feeling her pulsing bud, then nuzzled at the damp hair at her temple. “Is that a yes, Sabran?”

Sabran trembled, then finally uttered a breathy, "Yes."

Ead hummed happily and made her way down Sabran's full body, kissing down her neck, over her clavicle, across her breasts; scraping her teeth over her nipples; sucking purpling marks into the fair skin of her belly and thighs.

She took her time marking Sabran, and by the time Ead was ready to taste the honey between her legs, Sabran's thighs were a patchwork of pink flush and red-purple marks. They shook so hard where they rested on Ead's shoulders that Ead had to reach up to hold them in place, lest they shake themselves off. She mouthed one more wet kiss to the inside of her upper thigh, devastatingly close to where Sabran's slick glistened along dusky, parted lips.

Sabran whined quietly and pushed her hips up, drawing Ead’s gaze inevitably towards the soft petals between her legs. She was pink, bordering on a red-purple similar to that of the marks on her skin where excitement had increased her blood flow, and the little nub Ead had teased so much earlier peeked up at her, straining and twitching visibly as Sabran rolled her hips into nothing.

Ead’s mouth watered.

“I’m going to put my mouth on you now,” she mumbled, hardly audible even to herself with how the blood was rushing in her ears, but Sabran lifted her hips and dropped a hand to tangle in her hair.

Which was all the encouragement she needed.

She slid her hands down Sabran's thighs to cup at the soft flesh of her ass, then finally dipped in to press her tongue up through her in a broad, flat stroke.

Sabran melted into the sheets with a sigh and Ead moaned, licking through her again and again, curling in past her entrance to coax out more of her noises, to coat her tongue with more of her taste. She dragged her tongue up against Sabran's throbbing bud, humming with delight when her hips stuttered, then sealed her lips around it and sucked.

Sabran's strong thighs snapped up around Ead's ears, but even that wasn't enough to muffle the sound of her harsh, shuddering gasp, a sound Ead ached to hear her make again.

So she gripped harder at Sabran's ass and repeated her actions, taking the little nub into her mouth and sucking on it over and over again until Sabran was making strangled little noises in the back of her throat, both hands tangled in her hair as she twisted and pulled and jerked.

It almost seemed to Ead as if the slick between Sabran's thighs actually tasted fuller and sweeter the closer she got, the more her legs shook, the more she bucked and pressed up to meet Ead's mouth.

Ead looked up at Sabran with bleary eyes, finding it harder and harder to breathe the more Sabran urged her on with insistent hands in her hair, moans catching helplessly in her throat, only barely stifled.

Ead released her bud, flicking her tongue repeatedly over it instead, ears straining to hear the way her quiet noises got breathier and more desperate. Sabran's hips attempted to shudder away from Ead's mouth, almost overwhelmed, but Ead pressed her thumbs just under her hip bones and licked faster, harder, until Sabran stiffened and arched, nub pulsing uncontrollably against her tongue.

Ead kept her tongue flat and steady against her as Sabran jerked. When she finally unbowed her back, Ead eagerly licked lower, groaning when Sabran's full taste spread slippery-slick in her mouth. She took her time lapping up most of her release, gently cleaning her up as she rubbed soothing circles over her hip bones.

Somewhere during Ead's careful licking, Sabran's noises went from satisfied to hungry. Again.

Ead placed a parting kiss to the tight, red bud between Sabran's legs, wiped her chin with her hand, then crawled up her body again. She caught Sabran's eyes, dark as the forest at night, and dipped to kiss her, teasing her lips apart and sliding their tongues together to give Sabran a taste of herself.

Sabran trembled and dragged herself wetly and mindlessly against Ead's belly with a helpless whine.

"Insatiable," Ead observed with a smug grin. Sabran flushed and nipped at her lower lip.

Ead stifled a pleased noise, but her hips still jerked into Sabran's. She leaned in to brush their lips together.

"How do you want it?" she asked quietly.

"Hm?" Sabran hummed inquisitively, "how do you mean?"

"I mean… how do you want me? Last time was how I wanted to take you, so this time I'd like to touch you the way you want."

Sabran started to shake her head, then stopped and nodded instead, flush high on her regal cheekbones. She pressed at Ead's shoulder to get her to sit up, then rolled onto her stomach with her ass up in the air, forearms and knees sinking into the mattress. She was completely exposed in this position; Ead could see her twitching and dripping, could smell the force of her desire.

Her stomach flipped with anticipation.

She shuffled forward on her knees and placed a light hand over her lower back, marveling briefly at the difference in their skin colors. Different, contrasting, and yet complementary.

"Like this?" she checked, splaying her fingers and feeling the way a tremor rippled through Sabran's body.

"Yes, please," Sabran whispered.

Ead lifted her hand to gather Sabran's slick on her fingers, then quickly aligned two to her entrance, palm facing down. This time, she pressed in without prompting, and she felt her head spin when Sabran let out a tiny, choked whine, body easily accepting Ead's fingers and pulling her all the way in.

“More,” Sabran gasped, pushing back into her hand before Ead could ask how she felt.

“More?” Ead asked, surprise coloring her voice.

“Please, yes. More, more more more, please, Ead.”

Ead swallowed heavily and fit one more finger to Sabran’s entrance. She slowly pushed in and couldn’t stifle a shocked yelp when Sabran eagerly backed into it with a guttural noise, easily taking all three of Ead’s fingers almost to the second knuckle. Ead's hand flew up to grip at her hips, fingers sinking into soft flesh as she wondered whether or not to hold her steady and slow her down.

But Sabran paused to let out a shaky breath, even as the heat of her tried to pull Ead's fingers deeper.

“Are you all right?” Ead asked, perhaps unnecessarily, as Sabran chose then to push the last bit further to take her fingers all the way to the last knuckle.

A wet, gasping whimper was all the answer she got as Sabran dropped her head below her shoulder blades, trembling harder than the last leaf before winter. She shakily slid forward on her forearms until her chest and cheek were pressed to the mattress, arms outstretched in front of her.

Ead stilled, rubbing the thumb of her free hand soothingly across the skin of her hip, waiting for Sabran to give her a sign that she was ready to keep going.

She didn't have to wait long. Within a few heartbeats, Sabran melted further into the sheets and the rolling, greedy tug of her body started up again, muscles wrapping tighter and tighter around Ead's fingers as little desperate noises slipped from her mouth.

Ead swallowed, drew her fingers back, and steadily pushed back in.

The sound Sabran made as she slowly filled her up again was unforgettable: rumbling and low, long and drawn out, like she'd tasted something absolutely delectable and wanted to savor it until every last trace vanished off her tongue.

Ead kept her fingers inside for a moment, then repeated the slow stroke, swallowing against a dry mouth when Sabran tightened around her.

"Can you…" Sabran's voice was breathy. "That's good, but can you--" She rocked back on her knees to press herself harder against Ead's hand. "Just, want a little more when you're- when you're in all the way."

Ead made an inquisitive noise. "More… fingers?"

"Oh Saint, no," Sabran let out a surprised laugh, clenching reflexively. "No, I'm. Very, wonderfully full."

Ead unconsciously flexed her fingers with pride and Sabran gasped before continuing, voice even more breathy as her body eagerly pulled them deeper. "I just need more… force. I want to feel you as deep as you can go."

Ead hummed and repeated her slow thrust, adding an extra burst of effort at the end to drive her fingers in all the way to the knuckle, feeling Sabran stretch around the thick span of her fingers.

Sabran pressed a profoundly satisfied-sounding groan into the mattress before Ead could ask if that was what she'd wanted.

"Yes, just like that," she said, voice muffled by the mattress.

And that… was as resounding an approval as any. Ead grinned and started working into her at a steady pace, maintaining the achingly slow speed Sabran wanted with a hard, deep press at the end of each thrust. Sabran moaned gratefully into the sheets, hands gripping and twisting white-knuckled as she rocked into Ead's hand. Her whole body tightened around the stretch of her fingers, flushed and red, slick dripping down her thighs, and Ead clenched her thighs, feeling and seeing every little twitch and pulse.

"You look divine," Ead mindlessly admitted, eyes glued to the joining of their bodies, a part of her wondering just how good it must feel to be filled so completely.

But the praise coaxed a harsh, desperate sound out of Sabran's throat, and a moment later, she was rasping out, "Faster. Harder," and Ead rushed to comply. She gripped harder at Sabran's hip, pulling her back into each thrust, and her increasingly pleased sounds showed just how much she appreciated her vigor.

But then Sabran rocked back just as Ead rutted recklessly forward into her hand. Her own swollen nub, ignored until now, bumped at the base of her wrist and she pitched forward with a gasp as pleasure rocketed through her.

The relief just from that brief contact felt so, so good and she needed more of it. With a low rumble, she pressed her aching bud to her wrist, then used her hips to power each subsequent thrust. Her gasping moans quickly rose to blend with Sabran's, the quiet concert of their pleasure filling the room.

A deep, hot tension was rising low in her belly, warming and building to an almost unbearable level. And judging from the way Sabran was squirming, thighs trembling and hands twisting in the sheets, she was feeling it too.

"You're close," Ead observed, voice low and rough as she continued to drive forward into Sabran's heat, but the only answer Sabran had for her was an anguished whine.

"What do you need?" Ead asked. "How do I make you feel good?"

For five long beats, Sabran could only pant heavily against the sheets as Ead worked her fingers in and out, but on the sixth she finally choked out, "My nub. Please. I need you to touch it."

Ead dropped the hand at Sabran's hip without a second thought, fully intending to touch her like she'd asked, but immediately an issue arose: Sabran was so soft and pliable right now that without a hand holding her steady, Ead couldn't drive into her as deeply as she wanted. Each buck of her hips only pushed Sabran forward and away, fingers staying stubbornly half-buried into wet heat, and without the resistance of being fully seated inside, the pressure on her own bud disappeared. She changed her trajectory--a solution flashing into her mind--and replaced her hand, digging blunt nails into the pale skin of Sabran's generous hip.

Sabran let out a confused whimper but Ead bent forward until her breasts brushed up against Sabran's back, mouth fitting to the back of her neck.

"Touch yourself," she murmured, lips skimming across her skin.

Sabran trembled, squeezing around Ead's fingers. "What?"

"I said touch yourself, Sabran," Ead repeated patiently, ever-so-slightly slowing the rock of her hips. "I can't do it, so you'll have to do it yourself."

There was another extended moment of nothing but tremulous breathing as Sabran shook and flushed under her, the back of her neck going pink and warm. But then she finally breathed out an Okay, untwisting one white-knuckled hand from the rumpled sheets to slip it between her own legs.

Ead felt the exact moment Sabran's fingers brushed against her swollen nub. She yelped into the sheets and the heat of her fluttered rapidly around Ead's fingers.

And just like that, with the visual of Sabran rocking desperately into her own hand, the feeling of her tightening in rolling pulses, the sound of her whimpering high and needy, it was only a matter of time before Ead's own thighs started shaking.

The line of Sabran's back curved beautifully and Ead filled her up again and again and again as she rubbed faster, shoulder tensing. And then she stiffened, her body strained and quivering, clenching so tightly Ead could no longer plunge in and out.

Ead groaned and rutted messily against her wrist, eyelids drooping at the blissful contact until Sabran snapped into motion again, writhing wildly as she pressed her gasping sobs of pleasure into the mattress.

Ead jerked her hips once, twice more before a euphoria unlike anything she'd ever known tore through her. Helpless keening noises slipping from her mouth as she shuddered and bucked, nub pulsing, slick dribbling down her trembling thighs, bliss amplified by the way Sabran was moaning into the sheets and twitching around her fingers.

She didn't know how long her body quaked before her senses returned, but Sabran had turned her head to press her cheek to the mattress, and the sound of her steadying breaths were the only thing Ead could hear as she carefully pulled out. She flopped onto her back next to Sabran's limp body and indulgently licked her fingers clean with a contented hum.

It wasn't until her breathing fully evened out again that Sabran started plucking at the sheets with restless fingers, finally voicing her thoughts a few beats later.

“Have you…" she trailed off with a false start, then tried again. "You’re very skilled with your hands, Ead,” she mumbled, head still turned away, cheek pressed to the sheets. “Have you been with others before me?”

There was an odd tone to her voice that Ead couldn’t quite place.

“No, I haven’t,” Ead admitted, drying her clean fingers on the skin of her stomach and pillowing her head on her tired arm. “You were the first.”

It almost seemed as if some hidden tension in Sabran’s shoulders drained away with her words and she relaxed into the sheets, finally turning her head to face Ead again.

“Truly?” she asked, green eyes glittering and pretty lips twitching upwards.

“Truly,” Ead replied softly, reaching out to tuck a few strands of silky black hair behind the delicate shell of Sabran’s ear. “I’ve never… felt the need to lay with anyone else.”

She bit back the until you, but it was clear from the look on Sabran’s face that she suspected that particular omission.

Sabran leaned in to press a gentle, lingering kiss to the corner of her mouth and gooseflesh rippled across Ead's skin.

“Thank you,” Sabran murmured, tucking her face under Ead’s jaw, breath warm against her neck.

Ead carefully shuffled closer, and after a moment’s hesitation, tossed an arm around Sabran’s waist before slowly tracing her fingers aimlessly over her lower back.

Sabran hummed happily and nuzzled closer, one delicate hand pressed to Ead’s chest and the other curled under her chin. Her breathing synced to Ead's then gradually slowed as sleep finally pulled her into its arms.

Ead remained still for a long while after Sabran had fallen asleep, just staring at the canopy of the bed and trying not to move too much or jostle her. Some time during her mindless daze, she pressed a tender kiss to the top of Sabran's head and breathed her in, heart quickening and chest tightening. Unbidden, thoughts of Milk Lagoon came to her and she squeezed Sabran more fully to herself.

Such a place was something out of an idealistic, impossible fantasy, as was the idea of escaping there with Sabran, but…

Sabran murmured nonsense in her sleep and nuzzled still closer, soft lips brushing Ead's neck as her warm breath tickled not-unpleasantly across her skin.

And Ead rebuffed the sharp tang of reality and let herself believe for just this one night that Milk Lagoon was a possibility. That they'd run away together and anonymity would welcome them with open arms.

When she finally drifted off, Sabran was patiently waiting for her on the beautiful, calm shore of the lagoon.