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when the body speaks

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It was a damp and windy night, one of the coldest since Alys had fled Karhold. Jon's wildling army was camped in the thickest stretch of the Wolfswood, surrounded by snow and sentinels and hiding like criminals, unable to return to the Wall and afraid of what they might find waiting at Winterfell. They dared not use the Kingsroad, though Alys doubted they would hear much news if they did. The North had become a lawless place under Bolton's bastard, the roads and forests crawling with brigands and worse; Jon's scouts had ridden out only to disappear, thrice in the last ten days.

Alys passed Jon's tent as she walked toward her own, and she paused outside the flap for a moment, listening for voices or sounds of movement. She had tended his wounds their first days away from the Wall, but she was no maester, and Melisandre's magics had served him better than moss poultices and boiled wine. She rarely saw him now that he was healed, and she found she missed his company. She liked his grey eyes and the rich rumble of his laughter and the way his mouth curved at the corners when he remembered to smile.

You ought to be mourning your husband. Sigorn had fallen in the chaos of Jon's betrayal, skewered by a spear as he fought to reach Jon's body, and while Alys regretted his passing she hadn't yet found it in herself to truly grieve. He had been kind to her, and had taken care not to hurt her the night they were wed, but their marriage lasted less than a sennight, and she had not known him well enough to say she had loved him.

Her tent was small and scant protection from the weather, little more than a length of hide drawn over a low branch. She shared it with Val, who she found crouched before their cookfire, humming softly to herself as she doused it with handfuls of snow. She looked up as Alys approached, narrowing her eyes, her blonde hair muddied to brown by the glow of the dying embers.

"Did you find your Jon Snow?"

Alys bit her lip as spots of color bloomed on her cheeks. "He isn't my Jon Snow."

"He never will be, if you do not make yourself known," Val said, wiping her wet hands on her skirts. "His pride is too stiff. He cannot bend his neck to see what's before him."

"I've been widowed less than a full turn."

Val shrugged. "Men die," she said simply. "The living should not waste their strength carrying the weight of the dead."

Alys ducked inside the tent, sighing as she burrowed into her share of the musty furs. They smelled strongly of sweat and hard travel, and slightly of the lavender soap Val used to wash her hair. Val was a prickly woman, not easy to befriend, but without each other they would likely be alone. Val had lost her sister and the man who'd been akin to a husband, and the time she'd spent as Stannis' princess had estranged her from her people. Alys' uncles were traitors and her father and brothers were dead, and the remaining Thenns paid her little heed -- she'd never truly been a wildling at all.

She was more than half asleep when Val finally joined her, the furs shifting and rustling as Val curled up beside her. She listened to Val's breathing, drifting off again as it started to steady and slow, but then Val's hand brushed over her hip, and she leaned in for a kiss, her mouth soft and warm and dry. Val had done this a few times before, always laughing brightly when Alys blushed and stammered and pulled away, but tonight Alys pressed into it, letting her fingers curl into the fall of Val's hair.

I do want Jon, but I want this as well. She'd never considered bedding a woman, but she'd been betrothed to Daryn on her eleventh nameday, and he had filled her thoughts until the moment Sigorn laid his cloak around her shoulders. I'm a woman grown and bled, and I was wed and widowed in the span of six days. I should do it now, while I still have the choice.

Val stilled for a moment, making a surprised sound against Alys' mouth, then deepened the kiss, her tongue wet and slick as it nudged between Alys' lips. She ran her hand up to Alys' shoulder, sliding on top as she tipped Alys back onto the furs; it was strange at first, feeling Val soft and curved where Sigorn had been tough and angled, but Alys quickly found she liked the warmth of Val's weight, the slow push of Val's teats against hers, the sweet pressure against her cunt that came from Val moving her hips just the right way. Heat sparked and flared beneath her skin, and she gasped as Val mouthed at her jaw, as Val nosed under her chin to kiss the hollow of her throat.

"Are you thinking of Jon Snow?" Val asked, bring her hand down to cup Alys' teat.

Alys arched off the furs, her breath hitching as Val's thumb brushed over her nipple. "Does it matter?"

"He has a pretty face." She untied the neck of Alys' shift, stroking her thumb into the valley between Alys' teats. "But he's sullen enough for five men."

"He always has been."

"You knew him before this?"

"Some," Alys said, rolling her hips to ease the ache in her cunt. She'd paid little attention to Jon on her visit to Winterfell; Robb had laughed louder and burned brighter, all auburn curls and wide, toothy smiles. "He was a terrible dancer."

Val laughed at that, the sound as sharp and clear as a bell, then leaned in for another kiss, sucking Alys' tongue into her mouth and letting her teeth catch the well of Alys' lip before kissing a slow, wet trail down to her teats. She sucked Alys' nipple into her mouth, swirling the peak with her tongue until Alys was twisting and trembling underneath her; the heat in Alys' belly was a living thing, coiled tight and ready to snap, and her cunt was impossibly wet, soaking through her smallclothes in a way she knew should shame her. She fumbled her hand between them, her fingers clumsy as she tugged on the laces of Val's shift, but Val slid down Alys' body before Alys' could truly touch her, pushing Alys' shift up over her thighs and bringing her head between Alys' legs.

She kissed Alys' cunt the same way she'd kissed her mouth, all soft lips and curling tongue, licking up between her folds, laving over the bud before dipping down and pushing inside her, and Alys cried out with both pleasure and shock, startled by the delicate slick-wet feel of it. Val caught Alys by the hips, pinning her to the furs as instinct was driving her to close her legs; she stroked her thumb into the crease of Alys' thigh, then brought her other hand down to join her mouth, slipping two fingers into Alys' cunt as her lips and tongue teased at her bud. Alys clawed at the furs, her voice cracking around a moan -- oh, oh -- her hips canting up as her peak washed over her in a sudden, furious rush.

Val sat up as Alys found her breath, shifting up the furs until she was straddling one of Alys' thighs. She drew her shift over her hips, then caught Alys' hand and tugged it between her legs.

"Here," she said, guiding Alys' fingers into her cunt. She was hot and soft inside, and nearly as wet as Alys was, and when Alys' thumb brushed over her nub she made a low noise in the back of her throat. "There, yes. Just there."

She moved slowly at first, then faster and faster, her hips rising and falling as she rode Alys' fingers. It was too dark to see anything, between the poor light and the heavy spill of Val's shift, but Val curled her hand around Alys' wrist, her thumb pressed to Alys' pulse as she held Alys where she wanted her, so Alys let her do the work, her free hand cupping Val's teat through the open neck of her shift. Val's knee slipped on the furs, sliding up until it was flush against Alys' cunt, and Alys' rubbed herself there, warm and slick against Val's skin, her second peak rolling over her like a wave, cresting as Val twisted and moaned, as Val's cunt throbbed and fluttered around her fingers.

Val sank down beside Alys with a sigh, her leg hooked over Alys' thigh and her mouth pressed to Alys' shoulder. Alys fussed with one of the furs until it was covering them, then closed her eyes, listening to the wind whistle as it gusted through the trees. It would snow again tomorrow, perhaps fiercely; clouds had been gathering over the north and west since early afternoon.

"We march at first light," Val said, her lips moving against Alys' skin. "Your Jon Snow wants to camp closer to Winterfell."

Alys huffed. "He isn't my Jon Snow."

"Come here." Val wrapped her arm around Alys' waist, then rolled onto her back, pulling Alys on top of her. "I want to fuck again. After that, I'll tell you how a free-folk woman steals a man."