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Like the Ice Before the Spring

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Before, they hadn’t had much time, or much space—before, they had lain together still fully-dressed, words turning to kisses that turned longer and longer until they were drowning in each other, kisses turning to touches, touches lingering, and Merlin still has fond memories of Freya’s proud smile when she made him come and her startled gasp when he did the same to her.

Here they have time, though; here they have nothing but time, and they’ve used it frequently—but never, Merlin thinks, quite as well as they could. Well. That can be corrected.

Freya’s mouth tastes fresh like lake water, wild like magic. Neither of them are quite human any more; she’s something like a goddess, a force of nature, and he’s—what?—Arthur’s, and Albion’s, and hers. He doesn’t know what that makes him and he doesn’t care, because when she settles into his arms she’s warm and solid, and what was and what will be can fade from his mind.

“What were you thinking about?” she asks, brushing kisses over his throat. Her hair smells like summer, like prosperity and peace.

“What it was like in Camelot.”

There is an edge to her smile as she looks at him, the hint of a storm. “Nostalgic?” she asks, and he’s glad he’s being honest when he replies, “Glad we’re here instead of there.”

Freya then had been shy and uncertain, rubbing herself against his hand as if she were afraid it would be withdrawn any moment, touching his cock through his trousers as if she thought it might break. Freya now runs her hands over his body like she knows it, like she’s seen a world’s worth of things since then, and her fingers are skilled and knowing when they press against his nipples, trace the muscles of his stomach and the thin dark line of hair leading down.

It’s habit, he thinks, that makes her sit back and stroke herself open—her fingers pale against the dark hair and flushed slick skin between her legs, twisting inside her—and then she sinks down onto his cock easily, so easily, as if they were made to fit together like this. He gives up trying to think and lets her do this for them both, watches as she leaves shining fingerprints on her breast and then strokes down, down, until the back of her hand brushes against the base of his cock, and all the while she rides him like a warrior, like a conquering queen, until she shudders and tightens, coming, and he follows helplessly.

She rises off of him and murmurs a word he doesn’t quite hear, and then they’re clean. She curls against him, head on his shoulder, and he says, “I wanted to try something?”


Merlin feels like he should have asked earlier, but he was a little distracted by the post-coital haze. “Can I—” and he isn’t sure how to ask, but she says, “Go on” anyway, sitting up and looking at him with curiosity but with trust.

When he kisses her this time there’s a hint of Freya-taste, human and alive, under the water and the magic, and instead of pulling her down to him he sits as well, lets her arrange herself over his lap. His hands start at her shoulders and slide slowly down her back as they kiss, as he moves his mouth from her lips to her jaw to her throat, nipping gently at the fragile skin over her pulse and then soothing the bite with his tongue, and she hums, pleased, the sound vibrating against his cheek.

Merlin licks across the top of her breast and she arches to give him better access, her breasts lifting towards his mouth as he holds her up with his hands splayed across the small of her back. Her arms are looped carelessly around his neck, a gesture of trust that warms him more than her kiss-red mouth, and then he circles around her nipple with his tongue and sucks, and her arms tighten as she gasps.

He brings his free hand up to her other breast, stroking and teasing, and she shifts her weight, once, and then a moment later again, little movements of her hips as she rubs herself against his body.

“Lie down?” he asks, and Freya makes a disappointed face and does. He switches his mouth to her other breast and then licks down, writing words in languages that haven’t been spoken in centuries across her stomach, savoring the way the muscles jump under his tongue. She’s breathing hard, but she’s still quiet—she’s always quiet, never louder than a soft moan—and he wants to make her lost enough in her own body to forget that habit and cry out.

He strokes a hand up her thigh and her legs fall open for him, easy and unashamed. He touches her carefully at first, feather-light until his fingers are sliding smooth through her wetness, brushing back and forth over her clit and then down to trace the edges of her opening and back up again, and she moves against him, subtle but sure.

When her hands start curling and uncurling against the grass Merlin stops. There’s always a little catch in her breath just before she comes, sharp and startled, but first it’s her hands, like she’s trying to grasp something that keeps slipping away.

“What—?” she says, managing to focus on him. Then, after a moment, “Why did you stop?” She’s breathless and he likes that, likes the flush blooming over her skin and the midnight of her eyes.

“I told you I wanted to try something. Haven’t you ever—um—waited?” It seemed so simple before, and now he’s not sure he can put it into words for her. “So that it’s better when you finally do come?”

Her brows draw together and she shakes her head.

“May I?”

Freya hesitates a moment longer and then nods, and he kisses her slowly, tenderly, open-mouthed and then easing away until it’s just the press of lip to lip. He runs his hands down her sides, lingering over the curve of her hips, and then down the outside of her thighs. The skin under her knees is startling-soft, and he strokes circles over it with his thumbs as her breathing quickens again. Because he wants to, because he can, he cups her breasts again, and this time when he presses her nipples between his fingers she moans, low but clear. It’s good—it’s been a while since she did that—but it isn’t quite enough, not for what he wants to give her.

Her legs part for him, her thighs slick where they’d been pressed together, and he wants to taste her, wants to take her apart and build her up again with something more intimate and delicate than his hands. He lies down before her, licks her open and trembling and then takes her clit between his lips and gently sucks it, and her hands settle in his hair and tighten as she lifts her hips against his face, little eager movements.

It’s the catch in her breath that warns him this time, and he pulls away just in time and stares at her spread out for him, sunlit and beautiful and strong, skin shining with sweat and her innate magic—stares at the deep red of her mouth, the soft red tipping her breasts, the wet red of her folds, and she watches him watch her and squirms as if he’s touching everywhere his eyes linger, as if she needs him, as if she can’t bear this any more, and then she gasps “Merlin” and he has to touch her again, he has to.

He presses a kiss to the palm of her hand, to her wrist where the pulse is racing, and she makes a sound that’s almost a sob and says “Please” on it, a drawn-out shaking ghost of a word. “Please.”

“All right,” Merlin says, because he’s not sure whether there’s a more appropriate way to say it. He leans over her, sliding a hand between her legs as he puts his mouth to her breast, and Freya shivers all over and rocks against it and comes with a cry, a long drawn-out sound as fierce as her magic, arching off the ground, and when she sinks back down she presses her hand over Merlin’s and shudders through another one, silently this time, open-mouthed and astonished.

There are tears on her cheeks, glittering against her flushed skin, and when she smiles at Merlin it’s all the wonder of the end of winter.