Ardent woke to find herself curled around Miro: one arm and one leg over his blanketed body, his head tucked under her chin. Her back was cold, because at some point she’d kicked off the blanket, and her chiton had ridden up around her waist. Not that modesty had any bearing here since she’d paraded about naked in front of him for fifteen minutes last night anyway. She cringed inwardly and shifted her head back, using aether to reposition her chiton.
Miro turned his face up to hers as she withdrew. “Good morning,” he said, softly.
Embarrassed, she moved her arm and leg off of him. “Morning. Sorry about…all that.”
His golden-tan features looked perplexed. “What are you apologizing for?”
“Forcing myself on you – I should’ve let you make another bed, I mean – I just…” She trailed off, not wanting to make excuses for herself.
He lifted indigo eyebrows, incredulous. “Forcing yourself on…you realize we’re in the Broken Lands, right? I can evade if I do not wish to be touched.”
She scrunched her nose at him. “Yeah, all right, maybe not literally forcing. But you still want my help to save your father. You’re not really in a position to do anything that might offend me. Like rejecting my drunken advances.” She rolled onto her back and put her hands over her eyes. “Thank you for rejecting my drunken advances, by the by.”
“You’re welcome,” Miro said, with a strange timber to his voice. After a moment, he added, “It did take considerable effort on my part—”
Ardent cringed deeper into the mattress. “I really am sorry.”
“—because I desperately want to make love with you, and having you pliant and willing and eager next to me made it extremely difficult to keep in mind the ‘drunken’ part. Ardent, I was not making an excuse when I said I didn’t want to take advantage of you.”
Ardent parted the fingers covering one eye to peer between them at him, half-hoping, half-afraid. “Miro, I…I don’t want you to think you need to…make me feel better…”
He reached out to take her hand from her face, curled her fingers over his and pressed her knuckles to his lips. “Do you know, I have been terrified from the moment that I met you that I would discomfort you with my unwanted interest? You are right; I have been afraid I would offend you. I am still afraid I will offend you.” Miro’s hand trembled under hers. “But not by rejecting your advances. By making my own. I am not saying this to make you feel better, except insofar as I cannot bear to have you under the misapprehension that I am repulsed by you. You are the most compelling, attractive person I have ever met. If you prefer that I not act on this attraction, for whatever reason, of course I will not do so again. But that will not change that I feel it.” He swallowed, his almond eyes intent and terrifyingly earnest as he met her gaze, his breathing shallow.
She rolled onto her side again to face him, moved her free hand to caress his cheek. It seemed so improbable, that her position of power over him could be what had stopped him from voicing his own desire, rather than what stopped him from expressing a lack thereof. He’s still afraid. Even now, he might be saying what he thinks he must to keep my goodwill. The thought seemed unkind, to accuse him of being so manipulative. Ardent whispered, “I won’t…Miro, I am helping you because it’s the right thing to do. Whether we make love or not, that won’t change. I don’t want you to fear that I’ll abandon you or leave you stranded because you said the wrong thing. Or because you were a little too forward, or not forward enough, or…whatever. I’m not gonna desert you, or turn my back on your dad while he’s enslaved. You understand that, don’t you?”
Miro closed his eyes and turned his head enough to kiss her palm. “I do. Thank you.”
This might be a mistake. Ardent couldn’t convince herself that it was; he was too close, too inviting to resist. She threaded her fingers through his silky indigo hair and cupped the back of his head. He was breathless, his lean body arched into her touch. She shifted forward the remaining inches between them, and brought her lips to his.
That first contact was tentative. Miro kissed her gently, lips only brushing hers, as if he feared she would tell him to stop, or could not believe he’d been permitted to start. He freed one arm from the blanket to stroke hers, then used aether to remove the blanket entirely. He slid into her embrace, flattening curly hair under his palm as he cupped her head and kissed her deeply, with a desperate hunger. Ardent felt light-headed in the face of his passion, drunk again on shared desire. She caressed his bare shoulder, then slid her hand under the toga to stroke his back: the skin velvet-smooth and fresh from his latest transformation the night before. He was an Etherium native, with no need for roughened skin or callouses. Even she had softened her skin at Katsura’s insistence for the High Court, and then left it soft. For this, if she was to be honest. For him. She’d wanted to be touchable, for Miro to touch her.
And now he was.
And Love, it was glorious.
Miro pushed her onto her back against the bed and knelt over her, knees to either side of her waist, hands on her shoulders, thumbs sliding under the fabric of her sleep-rumpled chiton. He moved from her lips to kiss her cheek and jaw, then licked and nibbled at her throat. When she whimpered with pleasure at the graze of his teeth against the sensitive skin beside the jugular, Miro’s hands clenched against her. He lifted himself and her from the bed on a cushion of aether, so that his arms could curl unimpeded around her while his mouth lingered on her throat. She held his head in place with one large hand as she played with loose strands of straight hair and breathed in ragged gasps, half-lost between pleasure and need. When he paused for breath and sat up just enough to see her face, Ardent traced her thumb over his soft, sensuous lips. “Love,” she whispered, trying to catch her breath. “Are all Sun lords this sexy or is it just you?”
He chuckled, nipped at the ball of her thumb, suckled it while she arched into him. “All I know is that there is no other fey anywhere as enrapturing as you. Ardent. Divine, Ardent. You are amazing.” He brought one hand around to smooth her chiton over her collarbone, inched lower, paused. “May I…?”
Ardent giggled and arched her back to press the upper curve of her breast against his palm. “You know I could evade if I didn’t want to be touched, right?” she teased.
Miro half-laughed, breathless, and caressed the soft flesh through the cloth, cupping his fingers around a breast larger than his hand. Ardent used aether to cut a slit down the front of her chiton, and pulled the top section apart to bare a few inches of warm brown skin in silent invitation. Miro caught his breath, swallowed, and slid his fingertips under the fabric to explore silken skin, to brush over the stiffened nub of a nipple. “Ardent.”
She arched into his fingers, electrified as he took the nipple between finger and thumb, stroked the thumb up and down over sensitive flesh. “Oh Love. Love, please,” she whimpered, not even sure what she was begging for. “Please.”
Miro pushed the upper half of the chiton to one side to bare her chest and gazed down at her for a moment, his expression one of wonder and awe. Then he bent to flick his tongue over the hard peak, and she writhed in the grip of longing. He fastened his mouth over her and sucked, licking, nipping, while she whimpered and squirmed and begged incoherently for more. His hand slid down her ribcage, over her stomach, along her hip. His body shifted on aether from on top of her to pressed against her side, exposing her other breast to his attentions. His tongue lapped in broad strokes and then flicked in little motions over the taut nipple. His hand pet the curve of her thigh underneath the chiton, exploring soft fur, and then moved between her legs. She spread her thighs and tilted her hips into his hand, eager for his touch. Miro groaned around her breast as he parted her labia and slid one finger over the slick, sensitive skin between. He drew slow, sensual circles over her clitoris, then slid one finger into her and rubbed his thumb over her clit instead. Miro used aether to make subtle adjustments to his hand to fit her better, to reach deeper inside her, to make his thumb vibrate against her nub. She writhed wildly, thrusting into his hand. He raised his head to watch her face. “Tell me what you like,” he said, his voice a hoarse, urgent whisper, demanding. “I need to know what you want.”
“You,” she gasped, hardly able to articulate anything more. “That. Oh, Miro, that – please—” her hips pulsed as if under his control, not hers. “—please – I need – if you don’t stop, I’ll—” Instead of stopping, he slid another finger inside her, thrusting deeper, pressing hard until her body buckled in climax. She clamped her thighs together around his hand, gasping at the intensity of release, the rippling aftershocks of ecstasy.
Ardent opened her eyes to see him watching her, smiling, looking as happy as she felt. “Miro,” she said, and kissed him, because it was enough and yet not nearly sufficient. She rolled him over on the aether and stripped him, while he let her, while he finished undressing her. She’d known what his nude body would look like; she had restored him to it often enough. But it was different to see it with her eyes, all warm beige skin over firm, flexible muscles, the body of a well-trained acrobat at an impossible peak of physical condition. Ardent knelt against his thighs to caress his chest and abdomen, watching his face as Miro closed his eyes to arch into her touch. How weird must I seem to a Sun lord, with my bent furry legs and extra height? But there was no mistaking his arousal, as her hand moved down from his stomach to his groin. The hard length of his penis twitched in anticipation of her touch. He tilted his hips towards her fingers, and she caved to temptation and took him in her hand. She ran her fingers up and down his erection, wondering if his was actually smaller than those of males from the Moon Etherium or if her memories from more than a decade ago were inaccurate. Ardent couldn’t bring herself to actually care. She curled her body to take him in her mouth, her senses so attuned to him she could feel his pleasure as her own. He curled his fingers through her hair, thrusting against her mouth. After a few moments, Miro slid his hands to her shoulders and tugged her higher. “Ardent – please – I want to be inside you – may I…?”
In answer, she shifted to straddle him, and gasped as he slid into her, his whole body arching into the union. After a few thrusts, Miro pulled her down to kiss, then spoke in breathless gasps. “I don’t know how it is…in Moon. But in Sun, ahh, the recipient adjusts the giver’s body to their satisfaction. If you like…?”
“Ohhhh. That’s practical.” Ardent used aether to enlarge him inside of her, a slow shift as she pulsed her hips against his. She shivered at the renewed intensity of it, at the building pleasure.
Miro made an alteration of his own; Ardent couldn’t tell exactly what, except that it felt even better to slide against him, his groin pressing exactly right against her clitoris when they thrust together. She cried out in delight, and he asked, “Is that good?”
“Love, Miro, it’s incredible,” she said, or tried to say. It might have come out as just, “Miro, oh, Miro…!”
They fed on each other’s pleasure, aether-enhanced senses attuning them so well that they climaxed together, in a fog of bliss. Ardent rolled over in the air and cuddled Miro to her chest as they drifted back down to lie against the bed.
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