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unbound and unbidden

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There were many facets to her wife. She expected nothing less from the Lord Admiral of Kul Tiras; from the once-leader of the Kirin Tor. Archmage and grand mistress of magic — Jaina was a woman whose titles and complexities rivalled her own. Many years of marriage brought a deeply intimate understanding between them, hard-fought and hard-earned. 

She loved her wife. Truly, madly, deeply.

She had killed for Jaina; she had died for Jaina. Both she had done with such bliss.

Sylvanas had seen all there was to suffer in the world…

...and yet could never stand to see her wife suffer.

Not even by Jaina’s own hand.

There had been nothing out of the ordinary about their day. Nothing strange about the hectic morning of endless meetings and audiences. The chaos in the streets and fields from incensed farmers and tradesmen due to changing seasons and tariffs. The endless and constant division and demand for their attention everywhere at once.

Nothing but for the endless pulsating tension Sylvanas could feel bleeding from Jaina’s form.

She knew enough of Jaina’s mercurial disposition to give her wife space. It was easy for her to understand the tightly furrowed brow, the hard purse of lips ready to curl into a scowl at any given moment. The sharp sidelong glares when someone dared to speak for longer than necessary.

Even she was not exempt from it. It was a habit to touch Jaina now; to brace a hand at the small of her wife’s back as they walked, or perhaps brush the tips of her fingers against a sleeve. Each time, she felt the bristling warning that came, and Sylvanas would simply incline her head. Step back until they were at a respectable distance to one another.

It wasn’t a common occurrence, thankfully, but Jaina’s rejection of her touch was enough for a deep-rooted worry to take hold of Sylvanas.

 

-------

 

She left Jaina for most of the day, until the evening sun began to set. Then she wandered the corridors of the Keep, trusting her feet to guide her to exactly where she knew her wife to be hiding away.

Alina bowed at the hip at her arrival to their rooms and Sylvanas clasped the ranger’s shoulder firmly.

“Keep us in peace,” she murmured, a speaking look in her blood-red eyes. “Take Anya or Lyana with you. I don’t want anyone bothering us for the rest of the day.”

Alina nodded once, knowingly, and disappeared into mist.

Steeling herself, Sylvanas pushed open the doors. There in their living room, curled up on the chaise by the fire, was Jaina. Legs tucked under and hidden beneath a throw; blouse unbuttoned low enough to expose the light camisole underneath.

Sylvanas moved carefully into the room, her keen eyes trailing after the rigid posture and cold facade of her wife. It was clear to see that something was amiss; Jaina was a master of ice and magic, but there was precious little that the Lord Admiral could hide from her.

With some measure of wariness, she asked, “Are you feeling well, dear?”

Jaina turned her head; a bare acknowledgement that would have stung had they not been married for so long. Her tone, though, could have frozen their chambers. “I’m fine.”

Sylvanas pursed her lips, a niggling thought creeping further into the forefront of her mind. “If I have done something to offend you, I should like to atone,” she said quietly.

“It wasn’t you.”

“Perhaps something I might help with?” she chanced.

Jaina bristled further. “No.”

Sylvanas approached the chaise slowly, until she could brace a hand along the back of it. She knew better than to touch Jaina in that moment, but pressed herself close enough for her wife to know that she was there. “Would you mind company?” she asked quietly. “We won’t talk if you don’t wish it.”

“If you must,” Jaina replied, turning her face away once more.

The Warchief nodded. “Very well.” She moved away towards a shelf, skimming the spines of their ever-growing collection until she found the one they’d been reading some few nights ago. Flipping it open to its marked page, she settled into the closest armchair, darting only the briefest glance at Jaina.

They exchanged no words, no further glances as the flames crackled and spat in the fireplace. Sylvanas rose only once to stoke its embers and feed it more wood before resuming her place at the armchair. Jaina watched her in intervals; darting looks that never quite landed on her person. Distant, glazed looks that seemed to catch a vague idea of her figure before returning to carefully-folded pages.

The bristling distance between them ate away at Sylvanas, stirred an unrest in her belly that festered like a poisoned wound. Jaina’s moments of turmoil and discontent unravelled a part of her that rekindled and bloomed over the course of their marriage. She agonised over each frown, each furrowed brow, each guarded look — each moment of unhappiness.

She understood the emotions Jaina felt, in some form or another. She knew its causes and its unfortunate longevity. It threw her to know that sometimes, there were no answers to it. No immediate and permanent solution to it she could offer. 

Darkness came with light, and how was darkness meant to heal darkness?

A time passed before Jaina spoke, and her quiet voice came like the snap of a twig in a still forest. “Did you eat today?”

“...no. Have you?”

Jaina shrugged.

Carefully, Sylvanas marked her page and set the book aside, leaning forward in her seat. “Would you like me to ask the servants to bring you supper?”

Jaina shrugged once more.

Sylvanas peered discerningly at her wife. She noted the flickering look; the combination of indifference and indecision that she learned to decipher through the years. Jaina, like her, lived a life of constant control.

Sometimes, Jaina didn’t want control. Sometimes, she leaned into Sylvanas’ cutting commands and firm touch to the small of her back or nape.

There was nothing Sylvanas wouldn’t give to her wife. It was only a matter of Jaina relinquishing it.

“I will bring us a meal,” she said, rising from her seat. She did not look to Jaina for a reply. She knew she would not find one.

She moved past the chaise, sliding a hand along the polished wood of its back, pausing just before her fingers could touch Jaina’s bare neck. She only hesitated for a breath, lingering on the periphery of her wife’s vision until she saw the sidelong glance of astute blue eyes. Then she spread out her fingers, clasping her palm firmly over warm, soft skin.

Jaina inhaled sharply, lashes fluttering at the touch.

She kneaded her fingers, a bare squeeze of pressure, and Jaina shivered.

A bloom of gooseflesh followed her hand as it slid away. The tight muscles of Jaina’s throat moving to swallow made her eyes sharpen with a distinct understanding.

Quietly, she asked, “Do you wish for me to choose for you?”

Jaina’s throat moved. It was a minute thing; a bare tilting of her chin downwards, but it was a nod.

“Then we shall eat,” Sylvanas murmured, with steel forged beneath the low thrum of her voice. “We will eat, and if you desire it — I will feed you with my own hand.”

Jaina swallowed once more, her breaths trembling and deep. “Yes,” she whispered.

Sylvanas’ lips twitched upwards for an instant and she gave Jaina’s neck a warm knead of approval. “Good.”

There was a visible shudder, but Sylvanas made no effort of acknowledging it. She slid her hand away and moved to the door, summoning a servant with almost idle effort. She spoke in a low undertone, detailing the specifics of the meal she desired. The servant was sent away with a sharp reminder of delivering her commands to the kitchen post-haste .

When she returned to the chaise, she found Jaina still in place; motionless against the firelight. Picturesque and resplendent. Aglow.

She looked and saw the heat in her wife’s cheeks to be something beyond the warmth of the fireplace.

Sylvanas’ lips curved affectionately. She moved to her armchair once more, settling into it in a languorous sprawl, crossing an ankle over a knee. For an instant, she merely watched Jaina, mindful of the stiffness in her wife’s spine. Though she could see the expectant look in flickering blue eyes, she said nothing more.

Leaning back into the armchair, she flipped her book back open and began to read.

The prickling anticipation bled from Jaina like a gathering fog across the moors, encompassing the space between them like a tangible force. It pulled at Sylvanas, crawling over her skin in undulating pulses of arcane that was nearly enough for her to shiver.

The sound of fingernails scraping across a book page made her ears prick. The ruffle of fabric moving made her eyes lift from her book.

Jaina met her gaze sidelong once and then looked away, freckles dark against the firelight. Quietly, knowingly, Sylvanas asked, “Would you like to sit with me?”

“There is no room,” Jaina replied softly.

“I did not offer my chair.”

There was a hitched breath, and Jaina rose slowly from the chaise. She moved in the stilted pace of an uncertain child; a lost wanderer, though they were but a pace apart. Sylvanas calmly set the book aside and reached out a hand.

“Come here,” she murmured.

Jaina’s hand was cold as she grasped it, but Sylvanas said nothing as she pulled her wife closer. She sat back into her seat, eyes gleaming as she reached out a hand and stroked the thick braid of silver-white. Brushing back the brocade of Jaina’s skirt, she slid her hand warmly over a thigh, squeezing gently.

Jaina folded down into her lap, arms wrapping tight around her shoulders as soon as they were pressed together. She pulled her wife close, buried her nose into the crisp scent of verbena and lavender. Familiar and foreign at once for the underlying smell of bristling arcane.

She threaded her fingers through the fine hairs on the back of Jaina’s neck and felt her wife shiver at the touch.

Jaina’s breath was warm and trembling against her neck; fingers coiled tight into the broad shoulder pads of her doublet. The desperation in the touch made Sylvanas’ chest twist in sympathy and affection.

There were no words for a time, only the slow, soft caress of hands on warm flesh and Undead skin. Sylvanas purred deep in her chest, the sound echoing in the hollow space of her chest as Jaina nuzzled deeper into her shoulder.

She toyed with her wife’s hair for a moment longer, until she felt the damp warmth of Jaina’s lips press to her neck.

Muffled and mumbling, Jaina said, “I need you to do something for me.”

“Anything,” she replied. “Always.”

Jaina took another shuddering breath and tightened her grip on elegant elven brocade. Her lashed fluttered, then her eyes opened into heady slits; murky blue like the skyline of a summer morning.

Sylvanas tilted her head until their foreheads brushed, until their breaths were one. “What do you wish of me, my heart?” she asked, quiet and murmuring. “Speak it, whatever you desire of me.”

Jaina’s breath hitched for a moment, a hesitation Sylvanas saw as clear as the blue of her eyes. On the next shuddering breath, she said, “I want you...to choose for me.”

Sylvanas rumbled a purr in her throat again, reaching up until her nails could scrape across her wife’s scalp in slow, deliberate frisson. She watched as brimming blue eyes glazed and hooded, sliding the hand beneath heavy skirts to rest along the swell of a hip.

“What would you have me choose?” she asked.

A knock on the door broke the tension between them, dissipating with the stiffening of Jaina's spine and the sharp flash of blue eyes towards the sound.

Sylvanas laid a soothing hand on her wife’s thigh. “It’s only dinner,” she said, giving the warm flesh beneath her grip a fond knead. “I shall attend to it. Gather your thoughts in the meantime, my heart. I will expect an answer when I return.”

Jaina made a barely perceptible nod, her hand squeezing tightly to Sylvanas’ before reluctantly pushing to her feet. She folded back down onto the chaise, turning her gaze back to the fireplace once more.

Rising from her seat, Sylvanas met the servants at the door and took hold of the proffered tray. She dismissed them quickly and they went without protest; there was no doubt they had seen the mercurial state of the Lord Admiral’s moods. She moved back to the living room, bending low to set the tray down onto the coffee table.

As she straightened upright, she noticed how stiffly Jaina was sitting. It was then her eyes dropped down to the box clutched in her wife’s lap.

She arched a brow slowly. “Open it," she said. "Show me your desire.”

Jaina’s throat moved in a heavy swallow as she lifted a trembling hand to obey. The box wasn't much bigger than her lap, lined in plush velvet to pillow the precious object within. The cover creaked softly as she opened it, and the sight of what was held within made Sylvanas’ belly stir into a wild flame.

The collar was beautifully crafted; made of only the best materials possible. Dyed an iridescent black that almost shimmered purple in some lights and accented in blood red, with clasps of polished silver and a large hoop set neatly in the centre of its length.

Sylvanas’ eyes burned with a slow-building hunger as they darted from the collar up to Jaina’s face. The deep flush and darkened freckles there only made the fire in her belly surge. 

There was only a thin ring of blue left in Jaina’s eyes, pupils blown wide as she worried her lower lip between white teeth, staring down into her lap in a near daze.

Sylvanas’ voice came out in a low growl, tender still in its edges as she glanced down at the collar once more, then back at Jaina. “I will dress you.”

Jaina’s response came thick and breathless, as if from a stifled throat. “—Yes. Y-es. You.”

Sylvanas kept her eyes on Jaina as she nodded slowly, moving forward in deliberate steps until she was directly before her wife. She reached down and took hold of Jaina's chin carefully, tilting it upwards until their eyes could meet. With her other hand, she removed the collar from its box. “Be good,” she murmured, and Jaina's lashes fluttered. “Be still.”

She took the collar in hand and then regarded Jaina's arched throat; at the high collar of the blouse shrouding it from view. She said then, very quietly, “Your neck.”

Jaina shivered and reached up to unbutton her collar with trembling fingers. Her breath came stilted and warm between them as the material parted, exposing the pale, elegant column of her neck. She pulled it further apart and Sylvanas watched with unwavering calm, unmoved but for the slow flex of a tense jaw.

The Banshee Queen made a slight acknowledging sound of approval in her throat, staring down hungrily at Jaina’s neck before sliding the collar around her wife’s neck, deliberate and slow. The clasp was cool against her fingers, but she paused then.

She could feel Jaina’s body trembling beneath her touch, the breath in her wife's throat hitched with anticipation and confusion.

“Jaina,” she whispered, fingers flexing against the clasp. “I need you to be the one to close it.” She dipped her head down until her nose brushed Jaina’s hair, breathing in the sweetness of her wife slowly. “Let this be the last choice you make tonight.”

A soft, strangled noise came from Jaina’s throat, but in her eyes there was understanding and an odd glaze of calm. She reached up, grasping Sylvanas’ elbows first, as if to anchor them both in place before sliding higher along the path of the Warchief’s arms up to her neck.

Their fingers brushed as she slid them over the clasp of the collar, manoeuvring against the mechanism for a fumbling moment. Jaina took in a steadying breath as her fingers found the purchase, and in the stillness of the room, the click of the collar falling into place was louder than any war-drum.

Sylvanas held her hands in place for a moment, then slid away, brushing against the finely tooled leather, tracing the tip of her nail over the silver hoop. She reached out and cupped Jaina’s cheek, staring down intently into her wife’s face.

Already it was as if the Lord Admiral was punch drunk, cheeks ruddied and freckles darkened; the glazed and needy look in Jaina’s eyes.

“Beautiful,” Sylvanas whispered, with no small amount of pride. “Absolutely beautiful.”

She stroked Jaina’s cheekbone softly, tracing the edge of the collar against the rapid thunder of Jaina’s skin with her other hand. She purred at the resulting shivers her touch elicited, and on the next breath tasted the damp heat of her wife’s arousal. Her ear flicked slightly and her eyes darkened with lust as she leaned down and kissed Jaina. It was hungry and deep; with every ounce of possessiveness that clawed beneath her skin for release.

Jaina melted into it with a moan, hands clinging weakly to Sylvanas’ wrists as she arched her neck up to deepen the kiss. Her tongue snaked out, daring to brush against the knife-edge of a fang, but Sylvanas pulled away.

A low growl rose in Sylvanas’ chest the same as a whimper did from Jaina’s. She tightened her grip on Jaina’s neck briefly, and Lord Admiral melted even more. She released her wife with an approving stroke of her fingertips against warm flesh, chasing the faint prickles of gooseflesh that rose in their wake.

“On your feet, my lovely,” Sylvanas cooed. “Your dinner's getting cold.”