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Hair Like Fire, Eyes Like The Sea (She Calls Me)

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“We’re alive!” Merida flopped onto her back on the bank of the lock, while Moana coughed up water on the bank beside her. “Mordu’s mercy, we’re alive.”

“I did not think,” said Moana, “that a nuckelavee would be that strong.”

“Okay. I do believe all the demigod stuff,” said Merida. Moana slapped her arm, not able to really put together any words just at that moment. “That is… hard evidence to deny.”

“The shapeshifting didn’t tip you off?” Moana looked at her incredulously, pushing her wet hair out of her eyes. “Or the thousand years of stories?”

“Stories can be made up,” Merida said, still breathing hard. “And my mam turned into a bear. But I just saw you… punch that thing in the face… and I’d felt how strong it was.”

“How are your ribs?”

“Bruised.” She ran a hand over them. “No’ broken.”

“Good.” Moana dug the end of her oar into the ground and pushed upright, then reached down to tug Merida up with her. Merida tripped over her sodden skirts, but managed to stumble to something vaguely vertical, and Moana started to haul them both back to the small cabin that they had been using as their base for the past few days.

The night was mild around them, but it was still not exactly the climate to be walking around in wet clothes, and Moana could feel Merida starting to shiver by the time that they got back. She hauled open the door, steered Merida inside, and propped her oar against the wall before heading straight for the low-banked fire.

She could feel the tapa cloth of her skirt giving way, and as soon as she had built up the fire she peeled off her skirt and hung it carefully beside the flames. Her top, sturdier, was also soaked, and she pulled that off as well. She heard the wet slap of fabric against the floor, and looked round to see that Merida had followed her example, peeling off the wet clothes that would affect her human self far more than it would Moana’s demigod form.

Merida sat down heavily on the bed, her soaked undershirt clinging to her skin, and pushed back her hair. “I’ve seen some things,” she said, “but tha’ was something else. I almost cannae believe we’re alive.”

“I’d say to thank your gods”, said Moana. She put her hand on her hip, feeling the warmth soak into her skin, then as water dripped down her back wrinkled her nose and reached up to twist her hair up into a bun instead. “But you did well enough yourself. You’ve got a knack for keeping alive.”

Leaning back on her hands, Merida trailed her eyes down Moana’s body and up again. It was almost a tangible drift, and tingled on her skin, making her breath come just a little quicker in her chest. Moana was only wearing her loincloth, soaked still from the loch, and could feel goosebumps spreading over her skin that had nothing at all to do with the cool night air.

She looked over Merida in turn, over the white linen clinging to her skin, across her breasts and the points of her nipples, the shadow of hair at the crux of her thighs. Grinning, Merida parted her legs, sitting with her knees apart in a way that was a clear invitation even though her underclothes were no less modest in such a position.

There had been things they had not been able to spend time on, in the days that they had been hunting down the nuckelavee. Tension that had lingered in the air between them. When she had been younger, Moana had been wary of getting involved with mortals, not trusting them or herself not to develop feelings. But she had learnt, with time, that plenty of people were more than capable of keeping the heart and the body well separated.

It became easier, time after time, to know what people wanted, and whether it was what Moana could provide. Merida’s burning eyes, though, were more than clear in their intentions.

“How about you come over here, and we make a celebration of it?” said Merida.

Moana grinned. “I wondered if you’d ask.”

She crossed the room in a few strides, grabbed Merida by the hand, and hauled her upright. Merida grunted in surprise, but her hands flew to Moana’s hips, and it was hard to tell which one of them initiated the kiss into which they fell.

Merida kissed hungrily, her tongue probing Moana’s mouth, her hands firm on her skin. Moana still had one hand on her arm, holding her close, but let the other drift down, pressing wet linen to soft skin, until she found Merida’s nipple and pinched it. This time, she was rewarded with a moan, and Merida’s hand sliding round to clutch at the curve of her ass.

“You should get out of those wet clothes,” breathed Moana, averting her lips just enough that Merida’s next kiss was to her jaw. She squeezed Merida’s breast, massaging. “And let me warm you up.”

“Fuck, the things I’ve been wanting to do to you,” said Merida, breathless and wet against Moana’s jaw.

Moana just laughed, drawing back for just long enough that could get hold of Merida’s undershirt and peel it up her body. She had admired the lean lines of muscle, the power coiled beneath skin, but had told herself that it was for the creature which they were supposed to battle. Now, she supposed, she could drop such illusions, as Merida’s hair slapped around and she swore through gritted teeth.

“Here.” Moana threw aside the undershirt, then scooped up Merida’s hair in both hands. Merida gave her a look which suggested that many had attempted to tame her hair, and none had succeeded. But none had Moana’s millennium of experience, she would be willing to bet, and she twisted it around and used its own weight to hold it in place, a large bun on the back of Merida’s head which might have had its own awkwardness, but would at least not get everywhere.

It took only a couple of seconds. As she drew her hands back again, sliding them down over Merida’s shoulders and towards the tempting exposed skin of her breasts, Merida’s eyes went wide and she reached up with both hands to pat at the bun of hair.

 “Did you just–?”

Moana’s grin may have slipped towards being a smirk. “I’ve picked up a few skills.”

“If yer that good with yer hands, I can’t wait to see what else you might manage with them,” said Merida. Her grin had returned, and she took her attention away from her hair to grab Moana’s arm and pull her back into a kiss once again.

The water on their skin may have been cool and damp, but Moana could feel them both warming up rapidly as she ran her hands down Merida’s back and felt the flexing muscles that the bow had put there. Merida’s nipples pressed into her, hard points, and Merida grabbed at her hips to haul them close together. The adrenaline of the fight with the nuckalevee was giving way to a new burn beneath her skin, and Moana let herself moan against Merida’s mouth and grab the firm curve of her ass.

“What do you say we get on that bed?” said Merida, with a nip to Moana’s lower lip.

Fuck, but Merida was stunning. The confidence, as well, which had rolled off her in waves before Moana had even spoken a word to her. Even in her scepticism there had been a strength, more a stance of demanding evidence than an inability to believe. Of course, given the magic that she had seen, perhaps that was itself no surprise. But then even at inappropriate times, Moana had not been able to help seeing it, the line of muscle in Merida’s shoulders, the way that her thigh tensed beneath her skirt, the curve of her lips or the glint in her eye.

Inappropriate times, before. But not now, with Merida’s bare skin against hers and heat pooling in her cunt. She smacked Merida’s thigh lightly, to a look that was equal parts affronted and aroused. “What do you say I show you what else I can do?” she replied.

Merida cocked her head, but looked interested. Grinning, Moana grabbed her around the hips and lifted her up, as easy as a feather in her hand with demigod strength. Merida yelped, then laughed and grabbed Moana’s shoulders as Moana carried her easily over and leaned her back against the wall.

“That’s a first,” said Merida, breathlessly.

Still smiling, Moana responded by lifting her higher, Merida’s hands grabbing her hair as Moana slid upwards, scooping first one leg and then the other over her shoulders. Merida’s shoulders were against the wall, her hips tilted away to Moana’s mouth, and Moana thought that she saw the exact moment that realisation dawned as Merida’s eyes turned more lustful and a groan left her lips.

“You mean yer gonna–”

Moana cut her off with a quick flick of her tongue. Gasping, Merida tightened one hand in Moana’s hair, the other pressing back against the wall for her support. Moana scooped her hands under the firm curves of Merida’s ass, felt heels against her back, and finally tore her eyes away from Merida’s shocked, aroused expression to concentrate on the waiting cunt before her.

It did not surprise her in the least that Merida was already shining-wet, fine red curls glittering with beads of arousal. Moana ran her tongue along Merida’s slit, rewarded with a groan and fingers massaging against her scalp, then teased at the folds with the tip of her tongue, almost tickling-light until Merida’s heels pressed harder against her shoulders. Gods, but she tasted good, salty and musky and perfect on Moana’s tongue, and Moana lapped down the taste of her, brushing her lips, probing at her entrance, deliberately ignoring the hard nub of her clit.

“Do you intend to tease me half the night?” said Merida, breathlessly. “Because I should warn you that I’m no above return–”

Just as the hint of desperation came into Merida’s voice, Moana wrapped her lips about her clit and sucked on it. Merida cried out, legs bucking, and Moana squeezed her ass more tightly to keep her in place as she let a smile slip forth. She toyed her tongue at Merida’s clit, soft strokes becoming harder, increasing in speed until Merida’s breath tightened, then pulled away and licked a long stripe along her pussy instead.

“Son of a–!” Merida’s heel smacked against Moana’s back, and she grinned. “I take back what I said about yer hands, yer tongue puts them to shame, you – ah!”

Moana slipped her tongue into her again, rubbing firmly at her entrance, and Merida squirmed and pressed her hips closer to Moana’s face. She’d had others say that there was something giddying about it, nothing but the smooth wall at your shoulders and Moana’s tongue, nothing to distract them from the feeling of her mouth of them. For her part, Moana loved the feeling of their thighs about her, feeling the tense of their strength flowing to liquid as they came, the way that it bared them to her and offered them up so perfectly.

She’d be lying if she said there didn’t like the faint burn in her shoulders, as well.

The hand in her hair tried to steer her upwards again, but again Moana ignored Merida’s clit in favour of firmly fucking her with her tongue. Merida gasped, cursed, tried to rut against Moana’s face in bucks of her hips, but Moana kept her hold firm and teased with the tilt of her head, lapping down to the very lowest, most sensitive parts of Merida’s cunt and teasing there with her tongue, tight hard little flicks against her skin. She murmured wordlessly, knowing that it burred against her lips and straight through to Merida, rewarded with being called a born bastard in a breathless, desperate tone.

She drew back just for a second, enough to glance up and admire the heaving of Merida’s breasts and stomach, the clench of the muscles in her abdomen. The darkened damp curls of her pubic hair, almost soaked through now at the base of her cunt, and the flushed pink of her skin where Moana had teased at it. She could see the fullness, like desperation made flesh, and Merida’s clit standing hard and proud of its hood, full and pink and bigger than any that Moana had seen in quite the number of years. It seemed to demand her attention, and when she tickled just beneath it with the tip of her tongue Merida’s thighs clenched about her ears and she almost screamed in frustration.

She thought of teasing further in words, but knew that her voice would be muffled and rather suspected that Merida had more strength yet in the thighs that were already pressing hard at her ears. True, she was good at holding her breath, but she did not fancy putting it to too much of a test. Instead, she obliged, fastening her mouth over Merida’s clit and letting her tongue trace firm shapes about and across it. Merida’s words became a stream of wordless sound with only the occasional clear profanity among them, cursing and encouraging Moana in equal parts even as her hand and her heels made it perfectly clear what she wanted.

Moana sucked at the nub of Merida’s clit, hard and sure, and Merida all but screamed as she came. A fresh wetness rushed against Moana’s mouth, her chin, and Merida’s hips shuddered and thrust against her, but she relished the feeling and the taste as she made Moana ride out the whole length of her orgasm.

“Fuck. Fuck.” Merida’s voice bordered on the hoarse, and her hold on Moana’s hair might have been a little closer to clinging. The bun of her hair was starting to fall loose, Moana had to admit, and apparently even her skill was not up to Merida’s hair. But she was more interested in the way that Moana was heaving for breath, the hardness of her nipples, the way that the aftershocks of her orgasm clenched in her cunt. “Fuck me, I’d nae imagined something like that.”

Moana untucked one shoulder from beneath Merida’s leg, and then the other, and let Merida slide down until her feet were on the floor and they stood eye-to-eye.

“Do you believe in demigods now?” Moana teased.

“Oh, just get on the fucking bed so I can show you a fair time.”

“Such promises.”

Merida kissed her wildly, tongue forceful in her mouth, and Moana was more than willing to let her. It had been strange at first to have any mortal attempt to be forceful, while Moana was still growing used to the demigod powers that coiled beneath her skin. It had all seemed so… inconsequential. But as she had grown used to the human variation in strength, she had been able to appreciate it more, and now she could feel Merida take a firm grip of her shoulders to steer her back to the bed, and knew that most would bruise beneath such a grip.

They landed inelegantly, neither one having bothered to really look before falling onto the bed. It was not much, a thin mattress with a few blankets to soften it, but Moana had slept on far worse and Merida, it turned out, could sleep just about anywhere. Now, Moana was far more concerned with her hands at Moana’s breasts, fingers on Moana’s nipples, and the way that Merida’s mouth felt against hers.

“Maybe I should show ye what my hands can do,” said Merida, lips brushing Moana’s.

Moana grinned, chuckled, and let her fingertips trace down her body. The tattoos that marked Merida’s skin were blue, not black, but all the same Moana recognised the feel of them, knew the way that they had felt as if she had been claiming her own skin. Now she traced them with her fingertips, the blue whorl over Merida’s hip, and Merida groaned and pressed her thigh between Moana’s legs.

“Or maybe I should tie your damn hands down, so you can stop being quite so distracting.”

“Then distract me,” Moana said, with another light pinch at Merida’s nipple.

Merida snorted, but shifted her weight to one elbow and put one hand straight between Moana’s thighs. For all that Moana had intended to act as if she was not wet and yearning as well, there was not really any denying it, or the jolt of pleasure and relief both at once that jolted through her from the moment that Merida’s fingers brushed against her. Her teeth scraped Merida’s lip, and Merida seemed to read her desperation in it, as she rubbed along the length of Moana’s pussy from clit to entrance in firm, smouldering strokes.

“Looks like you got something out of that as well,” Merida murmured.

Moana answered with a hard kiss, and parted her thighs a little further. As soon as Merida’s hand had come to touch her, it had become impossible to ignore how wet she was, how desperately she wanted something that was not her own hand. Something that she could share, that was not just her imagination and her memories. She was so wet that Merida’s hands seemed to slip against her, too much for good friction, but it meant that when Moana slid two fingers into her it was as easy as a breath. Merida made a muffled sound of surprise, bur it was Moana who broke the kiss to release a moan, hands tightening – carefully, always carefully – on Merida’s arms.

“Gods, yes, that’s it. Right there.”

“Aye?” Merida’s fingers moved, rubbing against the walls of her cunt, and it was like starlight on the tips of waves as pleasure rippled beneath her skin. Moana tilted her hips, offering herself eagerly to the waiting fingers. “I’d no’ expected it to be that easy.”

Moana meant to give a sarcastic reply, but didn’t really manage one as Merida’s thumb nudged against her clit and she gave a sort of undignified groan instead.

“You want more?”

She wanted to reply aloud, to say gods, yes, harder, deeper, anything, but Merida was kissing her again and she settled for an affirmative sound rather than giving up the kiss. She had not fully expected Merida to respond with a third finger, now putting more stretch to the touch and pressing her open more, and she hooked a leg around Merida’s back in what she hoped was clear encouragement even while she was sucking on Merida’s tongue.

Merida’s three fingers pressed into her, and she ground against them, rolling her hips to feel the way that pleasure seemed to come from every point of touch. But there was still a greedy nag in her chest, or perhaps more precisely in her cunt, that wanted to feel more of Moana, inside and against her.

She let one hand drop down, and only had to think of her oar to find it in her hand, as easy as a breath. It would not come from greater distances, of course, but across the room and when it had still been in her hold so recently, it remembered her well enough. She raised it, and Merida must have seen from the corner of her eye as she paused in her ravishment of Moana’s mouth and looked up, frowning.

“What the…”

Even as she knelt up, her fingers were still buried in Moana’s cunt, which Moana did at least appreciate. Grinning, Moana spun the oar just once in her hand; in a shimmer of light that reflected faintly in the tattoos across her body, it shrunk and gathered together into her hands, down into nothing more than a bar of light, before curving out again into a rather shorter, and differently shaped, wooden shaft.

She offered it to Merida, who finally withdrew her fingers to leave Moana feeling a touch bereft. There was a wicked touch of anticipation, though, as Merida took hold of the shaft and then raised one eyebrow at the rather unmistakeable shape of the larger side.

“I can guess the general idea,” said Merida, “but…”

Moana reached up, took hold of her wet hand, and pulled it to wrap around the shorter, more bulbous side of the U. “That end goes into you,” she said. She drew Merida’s hand to the longer shaft. “And this end, well, I’m sure you can think of a few things to do with that.”

“I saw you smack a lake-monster in the face with this oar,” said Merida, with a pointed gesture of the two-ended wooden cock she now held. “And you mean for me to put it inside myself?”

She rolled her eyes fondly. “It’s magic, remember? Perfectly safe.”

“You’ve done this before.” There was an almost impressed edge to Merida’s voice.

“I can assure you there’s no risk of splinters, let’s put it that way.”

Merida turned the wooden cock back and forth in her hand, lips pressed tightly together as if she were still holding back laughter, then glanced down at Moana’s naked body beneath her and seemed to come to a decision. Smiling, Moana parted her legs further to give Merida the room to kneel up, part her knees, and slip the shorter bulb of the shaft into herself so that the longer shaft curved up like a cock of her own.

“Do I want to ask how you found out about this?” Merida said, lips still twitching.

“A woman who had a normal, metal one,” said Moana. “Reached for it in the heat of the moment… my hand landed on something else instead.”

That time, Merida did snort, although she reined herself back in again. “Must’ve been a surprise.”

“You have no idea.”

Merida waggled her hips back and forth, as if testing the hold of the wooden cock, and Moana could not help her eyes being drawn to it. The mid-dark wood stood prominently against Merida’s pale skin and the red curls of her hair, the shape a suggestion of the details of a cock without losing its overall sleek look. It was only an inch or so longer than the average, at least as far as Moana was aware, but it was on the generous side when it came to thickness.

“Your riding’s probably given you good muscles to make use of it,” said Moana. She ran her foot along the back of Merida’s calf, as Merida gave it more of a shake. The movement was not exactly sexual, but just seeing Merida wearing the cock was a thrill of its own.

Merida raised an eyebrow. “Which sort of riding?”

“Come give this sort a try,” she said.

She reached down, ran her hand over the wet of her cunt, and stroked it along the length of the wooden cock with one flick of her wrist. Merida caught her breath, but without questions or hesitation came to kneel over Moana, and let Moana guide the cock down to her entrance.

Gods, it had been too long. Too long, and the sight of Merida wearing it was too enticing, the intensity in her eyes, the flush still on her cheeks, the sight of her pert breasts and the muscles of her stomach. Just the pressure of the head of the wooden cock against her entrance made Moana suck in her breath, and her toes curled against the blankets as Merida nudged inside almost tentatively. The head first, just seeking out the inside of her, almost swaying and brushing just right against the sensitive entrance of her cunt.

“It feels… strange,” said Merida.

Moana kissed Merida’s neck, sucking at her pulse, and merely murmured something in reply. There was no small part of her that wanted to roll them over, to straddle Merida and show her another way to use that cock, but Merida shifted and groaned and the cock slid deeper into Moana all in one moment. She tilted up her hips, grabbed Merida’s ass for good measure, and helped to guide them until their hips fit snugly against each other.

Fuck,” Merida breathed, like an epiphany. She shifted her hips, like a gentle, muted thrust, and gasped.

Moana remembered it, the new sensation, of not just having something inside you but of being able to fuck, to wield a cock yourself. She ran her tongue along Merida’s throat, reined in her impatience and the desperate arousal still building in her, and waiting until Merida pushed up onto her hands and looked down with fire in her blue eyes.

Keeping one hand on Merida’s ass, she let the other drift round to her breast, and squeezed it with no small cheek. “You’re a fan, then?” she said.

“I want five of my own,” Merida retorted, and Moana laughed at the vehemence of it.

“Find a good wood-carver,” she said. “Or leather-worker.”

Merida glanced down them, and the hitch of her breath must have been at the sight of their bodies pressed together. Her eyes stayed there as she drew back a fraction, just enough for the slick-wet wood to be visible, before plunging home again. A jolt ran through Moana’s cunt, and she gave a frustrated grunt but it was worth it, still worth it, to see the look of wonder and arousal on Merida’s face at the sight of them coming together.

“And,” said Moana, not even meaning to make her voice sultry but unable to avoid the roughness it was taking on. “It never goes soft on you.”

“Though I’d still imagine that wielding it drunk is a poor idea,” said Merida, but grinned.

She rocked their hips together again, and Moana dropped her hand from Merida’s tit to clutch at the blankets as she felt the wooden cock stretching her open again, wrapping her around Merida. It was like it reached every inch of her at once, and gods she had missed that feeling, the feeling of a woman’s hands on her hips and the warm stretch of a cock filling her. She moaned as the pleasure curled in her belly, tightened in her thighs, and Merida was panting through her smile.

“Hang on,” she said, breathlessly. “One moment.”

Merida’s hips still, and a frown flickered on her features. “Did I do something wrong?”

“The opposite,” said Moana. She gave Merida’s ass one more squeeze, then released it. “I’ve an idea for a better position. Kneel up.”

That, Merida did eagerly, in something of a scramble and with the glistening cock swaying between her thighs as she did so. It stood at an obscene angle in her lap as Moana gestured her closure, then shifted forwards in turn so that her ass was all but in Merida’s lap, legs splayed open over Merida’s thighs, and cunt on ready display for Merida’s hungry gaze. There was no point in pretending that she was not dripping wet, that she was all but aching for the feel of the cock inside her again, and when Merida leaned over her to kiss her Moana threw herself into the kiss with wild abandon.

She teased at Merida’s tongue as Merida’s hand fumbled between them for a moment, then as the head of the cock found her entrance and, this time, slid home more easily. Moana groaned again, drew up her knees so that her feet brushed the back of Merida’s thighs, and did not need to give Merida any more leading a suggestion than that.

The sound that rumbled from Merida’s mouth was wordless, almost feral, and it tingled down Moana’s spine. The angle of her hips would be better, of course it would, and Moana knew that she was spread open and subject to Merida’s pace as the cock worked into her again, feeling out the new direction, touching in different ways along her walls. Differently good was still good, was still burning-hot and desperately right within her, as Merida explored her mouth and groped down her body.

Merida quickly found her rhythm, the movement of her body in time with her breathing and the sway of her muscles that was not clumsily slow or overly hurried. At least, until she tried to prop herself on one arm and reach with the other for Moana’s clit, only to fall face-first into Moana’s shoulder with a muffled curse.

“No’ the balance for that, then,” Merida said, pushing up onto her hands again.

Moana grinned. “Not in this position.” She squeezed Merida’s breast. “But perhaps I’ll show you those later.”

“Aye, let me get the hang of this first.” Already the grin was returning to Merida’s lips. “I’ll not be offended if you use your own hand, then.”

“Such chivalry.” Moana nipped at Merida’s lower lip, but did indeed slide one hand down between her thighs.

Merida bent her head to kiss up Moana’s throat, finding the steady rhythm of her thrusts again and moaning soft and low in her throat. Moana let her head fall back and her eyes flutter closed, smouldering with the feeling of Merida’s lips on her, her ardent touch, intensity as strong as when they had stood side-by-side before the creature that had breached DunBroch’s borders.

True, there was the steady thrust of the shaft, the rich feeling of fullness and the almost hypnotic beat of Merida’s hips against hers. But that it was Merida gave it its own edge, and as Moana’s fingers brushed her clit even for the first time she realised just how close she already was.

She ran her left hand down Merida’s back, settled it on her hip to roll in time with her body. It only took gentle touches beside her clit to coax herself onwards, ghosts of circles as Merida grew bolder, dropping more of her weight onto Moana and putting more of herself into the thrusts.

“Harder,” she breathed against Merida’s ear, half a tease, but Merida shuddered and groaned and did indeed increase the pace at the strength of her thrusts. The bed creaked and swayed beneath them, but Moana half-fancied that should they break the bed they would continue anyway, so desperately was she clinging to Merida’s hips, legs entwined, so fevered was Merida’s mouth against her throat.

“Damn it all,” Merida mumbled against her throat. “I’ll consider this a lesson,” she was panting, but Moana knew with a shudder that her rider’s stamina, and perhaps her pride, carried her on. “For many years to come.”

Moana allowed her fingers to quicken, and by chance it was just as she did so that Merida pressed their hips together and more ground into her, deep and slow and rolling her hips, trapping Moana’s fingers between them but not stilling them, breasts to breasts and mouth rising to mouth again.

She felt the rising wave of her orgasm, and rode with it, gasping against Merida’s mouth and letting her fingers press harder and move faster as it neared. In the centre of her chest she felt the rushing of her magic; she had never known quite why it rose, but perhaps it was the life of it, the clarity of it, the pure physical release. Blue light sparked in her tattoos, faint at first and only a glimmering around her heart, like a warm flutter in her chest. Even with her eyes closed, she could feel it spreading, out across the woven dark lines across her skin, stronger and brighter, in time with the tightness of her chest and the building of the heat within her.

A cry escaped her as she came, as she felt ripples of light and magic roll down her body, as her back arched and she tightened her thighs about Merida’s to clasp them together as the waves of orgasm swept through.

She fell back against the bed still panting, but feeling warm and softened in the wake of it. Her legs were still wrapped around Merida, who in turn was still grinning like she had won some contest that Moana had not even been worried about participating in. But she could feel the creeping tiredness coming on now, the exertion of fighting and the adrenaline of kissing Merida, of exploring her body and sharing her bed, all ebbing in time to leave her relaxed, and sated, and more than a little inclined to sleep.

“Warmer now?” she teased.

Merida glanced over at the fire, as if she had forgotten it was there, and then started laughing. The sensation of the wooden shaft bobbing inside her was strange, though admittedly not unpleasant, and Moana just smiled.

“Aye, that’s one way to warm up,” said Merida.

“I can think of another,” Moana said, voice soft in a way that might have been sultry, if they were not rather past that stage. She unwrapped her legs, though Merida did not draw away. “I’m told that I’m quite warm to sleep beside.”

Merida cocked her head, the odd curl of hair now falling loose to drift beside her cheek. “Are you flirting with me after that?”

Laughter bubbled up in Moana’s throat, although she kept it to a chuckle, a simmering adoration of Merida’s intense expressiveness. She has no secrets, does not care for them, and it makes her open and endearing all at once. And Merida’s very honesty reassured Moana that there would be no emotional mess from this, no yearning for something more when this was quite enough.

“What can I say? I like to keep things interesting.”

With a snort of laughter, Merida carefully knelt up, and Moana could not help a soft sound as the wooden shaft slipped from here again. Merida pulled a face, concentrating, as she withdrew the other end from herself, and it was so unsensual and inelegant that Moana liked her all the more for it again. She looked at the wooden shaft dubiously, then handed it over with almost excessive delicacy.

“Do we want to…”

Moana took it from her without worry, spun it in her hand again, and Merida ducked away from the rapid whipping out of the light into the oar once again. Merida would never have allowed it to strike her, but she did at least admire the reactions.

“See? Clean and dry,” she said, with a smirk.

Merida swatted her hip for a response, than flopped down beside her. “Come on. I’d best be behind you, else my hair’ll eat you alive.”

“I should braid it before I deliver you back to the castle tomorrow.”

“And they’ll no’ let me in for not recognising me, I’m sure.”

Moana placed the oar gently on the floor beside the bed, but tempting as it was to fall straight into Merida’s arms she knew that she had to look about for wherever their clothes had been cast off. “You get under those sheets. I’ll find us some underwear, so we don’t wake up freezing in the middle of the night.”

“And if we wake up no’ freezing?”

She did not even have to look over her shoulder to know that Merida was grinning wickedly, but gave Merida a look that almost dared her. “Well, I’m sure that we’ll find something to do with ourselves.”

Merida’s laugh warmed the room as much as the firelight. Moana suspected they might tarry even come the morning, after all.