He had shyly asked her if she wanted to join him in a flight over the Moors that evening.
It surprised them both. Maleficent perhaps more than Diaval, though maybe it was that she was feeling content and untroubled following the christening of Aurora and Phillip’s new child, enough so that taking bold steps into the intimidating meadows of her own future seemed agreeable. In the end, she was glad to take the leap, because she was not doing it alone.
They flew away from the diminishing ceremony after claiming it was time to turn in. A small white lie, but Maleficent had since tired of the crowd and the music. Diaval, who seemed to read her as easily as parchment paper these days, came to her rescue with his bold request. And so they flew into the golden Spring sunset as sweetly-scented rain began to fall.
Beneath this rain, they walked along the edge of the River of Stars deep in the heart of the Moors for hours. The millions of stars twinkling from behind thick clouds were met with their twins in the crystal clear water below, and sprites and newly hatched water dragons frolicked about within the thin sheet of drizzle. Maleficent watched, listening to Diaval talk animatedly beside her about this, that, and the other. He had since pulled a giant leaf from a magically enlarged oak tree (his endeavour to retrieve it a clear attempt to impress her), and was holding it in gentlemanly fashion over her head to shield her from the rain.
What endeared Maleficent to such a gesture was not the chivalry of it. Were it any other man, she might have waved off the effort and shielded herself with a wing, instead. What she allowed herself to notice, then, was that it was simply in Diaval’s nature to do kind things. He did not expect anything from it in return. The raven possessed a gentle heart that some might have thought was at odds with Maleficent’s supposed cold and thorny one, but no, it served to help bring all the warmth and goodness from the faerie, even during times she’d felt to be at her most unlovable.
For he did love her. She knew that. It was obvious enough.
Instead of returning to their nest in the mountains, they found a small cave beside the river that was still dry on the inside. The ground was cushioned by dry moss and crinkly leaves that cracked underneath Maleficent’s feet as she elegantly made her way inside. Once sheltered, she shook the rain off her wings and turned to Diaval (who had narrowly avoided the resultant splatter of water).
“Mistress?” He enquired, following her inside upon her gesture of invitation.
“I like it here,” Maleficent announced. “The rain, the stars … the sound of the river. We should stay the night.”
Her companion bowed his head.
“As you wish.” With that, he quickly set about removing his thick raven-feather cloak and resting it down on the ground. “Here. The inside is still dry. Shall I find you somethin’ to eat?”
“Goodness, no. Those cakes at Ulstead were, well …”
“Rich? I know. I think I ate nearly all of ‘em, though,” Diaval said with a degree of pride, patting his stomach. “Say what you want about humans, they know how to keep a raven well fed. Quiet, even!”
“Quiet?” Maleficent arched an eyebrow as she settled down on the cloak. With a twirl of her fingers, she removed her crown with magic and allowed her hair to spill down over her shoulders. “You took over that poor minstrel for three songs despite not knowing at all how to play the lute. Nor how to sing, for that matter.”
“I can sing!” Insisted Diaval, kneeling down to join her. “Ravens are technically songbirds, you know. It’s just that we prefer songs about irony, death, and despair, as opposed to flowery ballads about King Arthur and Guinevere.”
“Yes. You must have quite forgotten that we were at a christening, dear.” She eyed him, a smile touching at her lips. There was a compliment somewhere in her words - or perhaps a better term for it was affection, warm and plain for him to decipher as he wished. It was usually present in their bickering, which was more an enjoyable pastime than it was any true argument.
The man grinned crookedly back at her. His dark, kind eyes lended a warmth to the small cave in which they had found themselves. Like pools of night they were, endless and glittering as though they had absorbed the light of the very stars. There was not a part of him that was at all displeasing, Maleficent thought to herself. Aware of his physical charms and the confident way in which he carried them, it had taken her many years to allow herself the time to admire him the way such a man deserved to be admired.
And it lended warmth to her, too.
She had sworn off those feelings, once, but feelings never seemed inclined to obey her.
How did she even begin going about exploring such possibilities again? Here she was, alone in a cave with the only man in the world that she trusted. A man that loved her like no other, who could pull her back from the precipice of rage as easily as he could quell the sorrows that arose in her heart unbidden. They were alone, and yet he watched her with concern instead of expectation.
“Mistress?” He said quietly, head tilting in that curious, bird-like way of his. “Are you alright?”
The faerie did not quite know how to answer that. She was happy, yes. Ready to touch on years of unspoken sentiment and desires, certainly.
“What are you thinking?” She asked, a little too sharply and not at all in the more sensuous spirit she had intended. Immediately annoyed at herself, she smiled in an attempt to downplay the severity of her words.
Diaval stared, eyebrows raising.
“I’m thinkin’ that’s your awkward smile. What’s wrong? Are you nervous about something?”
Nervous? Of course she was nervous. Not that she would ever grant him the satisfaction of admitting it. Taking a deep breath through her nose, she tried to calm her thoughts and pounding heart, then gestured for him to come closer and join her on the cloak. He did so at once, sitting down beside her and adopting a look of confusion as well as he wore that of concern.
I’m trying to entice you, you damned fool.
He was the one who had asked her to join him for the evening, and yet seemed incapable of picking up on the very subtle cues that she was offering. Still, he was a raven, and the sort of fumbling … flirting she might have relinquished thus far was likely difficult for him to decipher, being a creature whose instincts relied on visual invitations.
She was in severe danger of overthinking things. If she succumbed, her desires would remain ignored for yet another night. That blooming warmth deep within her would remain untouched. She was ready to move on, to allow wandering hands into her precious wings and to other places that ached for an attention that almost felt alien in its lack of familiarity.
She peered at him. Her dear friend who loved her. His lips parted as though to say something, but no words manifested. Instead, he said it all with those black, beautiful eyes, which moved about her face in search of answers.
I’ll make it better.
I love you.
“What are you thinking?” Maleficent asked again. Softer, this time.
Diaval met her eyes.
“What I’m thinkin’ is neither funny nor clever,” he admitted in his quiet rasp.
“Must all things be?”
“You might not like it, Mistress.”
They were seated so closely together that they shared a heat between them. A welcome barrier from the chill of mid-Spring - but Maleficent had not felt the cold for some while. His close proximity was the source of her spike of nerves while somehow also being the comfort. It had been a long, long time since she had allowed herself to be in such a vulnerable and intimate position with a man following the agony of another taking that which was not his, but now …
It felt right. It truly did.
“Speak it,” she demanded.
Diaval’s pale throat bobbed. He was certainly weighing up his options, but it did not take him long to come to a decision.
“I think … well, the starlight - the starlight on your skin is really quite beautiful. Mistress,” he managed. Even in the dimness of the cave, a rare, pretty pink blush touched the ivory of his cheeks. “And the rain on your wings.”
They looked at each other a moment more. Maleficent had already come to her own decision, and now that she knew what sort of thoughts occupied the mind of her loyal companion, she felt more at ease in acting upon it. Reaching to the low neckline of her black, velvet dress, she began to slowly untie the silk laces at her breast.
She could have just used magic, but taking the longer route was worth it for the look of dawning realisation on Diaval’s face. His very consciousness actually seemed to fade out for a good few seconds, as though his soul had deserted him out of sheer shock. When he found the wherewithal to unfreeze and pull his gaze away from the temptation unwrapping itself before his very eyes, he turned to keep himself respectfully averted. His blush met the rounds of his ears.
It wasn’t as though he had not seen her naked before. They did share a nest. Only, he now seemed extremely aware that her undressing in front of him this time was different from those times.
“Mistress?” He called back to her for clarification.
“You can look, Diaval. Let those raven eyes of yours drink their fill.”
And those raven eyes, hungry for the beautiful things of the world, slowly came to watch as Maleficent peeled the tight confines of her dress away from her body. Underneath was a short, silken slip that left little to the imagination. She thought to take it off, though decided she might tease him a little longer - and ease herself into the true vulnerability of nakedness rather than diving in to the deep end too soon.
It seemed as obvious an invite she could get, short of asking him plainly for what she wanted.
And Diaval indulged, his gaze scouring up the alabaster lengths of her calves and thighs, over the silk draped loosely over her curves, back to her face. If there was any doubt that a raven in the shape of a man could feel an attraction not innate in his kind, he put it to rest then and there, buried it and spoke the eulogy. A dark flame, one which had burnt so quietly that one might never have noticed it, flickered as though disturbed by an errant breeze. It was there in the way he looked at her.
“I asked you to join me this evenin’. I wasn’t … what I mean is, you don’t have to -“
“Would I be doing this if I did not want to?” The faerie enquired with an elegant impatience.
Diaval managed a small, nervous smile. Rising to his knees, he considered a moment, then untucked his shirt and pulled it off over his shoulders.
It was a vision Maleficent would never tire of, and definitely one that she had thought about in secret in the past. It was the sort that was difficult to forget once it had been seen, like a particularly striking tapestry, or a soft bed of brilliant flowers in the Moors …
Her thoughts were barely stringing together.
The creature before her was broad and well built. Firm in some areas and softer in others. His shoulders tapered beautifully down to his waist. Every inch of him had a smooth, sleek quality encapsulated in the starlight, save for the scar-like patterns across his chest and neck which just begged to be traced with adventurous lips. Those suggestions of his inhuman nature were particularly exciting, adorned triumphantly across his skin.
Some might have found him intimidating. Maleficent, who knew him, found the prospect of his gentility just as thrilling as the strength of his form. She lowered herself back on her elbows and watched him, drawing her thigh up in invitation.
“Is this how I’ll serve you tonight, Mistress?” Diaval asked, his voice near disappearing into its rasp. As he spoke, he moved forwards on his knees and reached out a hand as if to touch her waist. But he did not touch, not yet.
“Yes. If you find it agreeable.”
“Then I’ll do it as well as I do anythin’.” Despite his evident nerves, Diaval smiled his roguish smile and lowered down until their bodies were a mere inch from touching.
Maleficent almost rolled her eyes, though was intrigued by his suggested confidence. As far as she knew, he had never paid anyone else this form of attention, unless he’d fooled about with the girls of Ulstead’s court that made the occasional advance. She did not dwell on the thought for long. Her body responded eagerly to his proximity, and she sighed delicately in response to the warm flutters within.
“With scathing commentary, darling?”
“No, no. With care , Mistress.”
His hand lowered to grip the curve of her waist. She could feel his light tremble, and realised he perhaps was not as confident as he liked to seem. With perfect softness did he join their lips, however, and it was strange how something so simple could thrill the faerie beneath him to no end. All the putting off, all the waiting, all the second glances … all the doubts, they were worth it, for they had all led to this perfect moment. A kiss that was as gentle and as impassioned as the man that gave it to her.
He parted from her, though lingered close, his nose lightly brushing against hers.
“I’ve wanted to do that for so long,” he murmured, emotion plain in his eyes.
Maleficent gazed up at him, her breath quickening. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and pulled him down so that his warm weight was atop her, and then she claimed his lips again, guiding him in what seemed to be unfamiliar territory.
As expected, he was a quick learner. Their kiss, so much more sweet and gentle then she had ever dared dream, deepened into a more sensuous rhythm once Diaval got to grips with it all. Their bodies pressed together, hands roaming and gaining confidence - hers travelled everywhere, from gripping his feathered hair, all the way down his warm, smooth back, to the tempting orbs of his rear which were tragically still clothed. And his scent - his scent - was suddenly everywhere, an attractive perfume of earth, feathers, and pine. It titillated her whenever she stopped for breath, warming her from the inside as easily as his touch did.
Diaval was less bold with his exploration. Maleficent took his hand, which was lingering in a polite location on her hip, and drew it to her breast. Their kiss paused. Diaval glanced down and watched himself hold her more intimately than he ever had, his palm gently moving to cup her over the silk of her slip. The poor thing wasn’t breathing at all.
Was it too much, too soon? Maleficent watched her partner closely, relieved to find interest and concentration upon his features, and then she sighed as his thumb swept over it, her back arching just slightly of its own accord.
He was watching her again. Intensely so. He was learning.
Slowly did he ease the frail straps of her slip down over her shoulders. He did not free her of the garment. Instead, he tugged the loose neckline of it down to expose her to him - the pale curves of her breasts and the dusky pink of sensitive peaks that had since hardened from arousal and the slight chill of the air. Diaval was leaning on his elbow, but he used his free hand to continue diligently touching her there, so warm and eager to please.
She wanted to say something to encourage him. Compliment him, even. That he was taking the time to learn all the sweet spots of her body rather than tend to his own needs - already hard and inviting against her hip - meant the world. As it was, he seemed to gain much of his own pleasure from watching her very slowly unfold with each caress of his rough fingers, every hot kiss to the soft, supple flesh of her chest.
Maleficent was not used to this. She was not used to it at all.
It was not her first time. Stefan had given her more than just a supposed kiss of true love. There was a world that they had grown into together, explored together. Still, he had never gifted her such meticulous attention and adoration. Sometimes, it had seemed as though there was somewhere else that he would rather be.
But not Diaval. Never Diaval, her loyal and trusted confidant, who had remained by her side for over two decades, smiling and arguing and enduring it all with her, not because he was bound to but because he wanted to. Because he loved Aurora as though she was his own. And he loved Maleficent as though she was his own mate, even if he had never dared say such a thing aloud.
She wanted to say something. But she couldn’t.
There was a vulnerability in the way she was stretched out beneath him, nearly naked and arching with want whenever his tongue or lips paid attention to all that was exposed. She thought she’d never be like this with anybody again, because people had a tendency to abuse such a vulnerability whenever they saw it in another. Never would anybody see her and think her weak , and nobody would ever make her feel weak ever again.
But there, in that cave beside the River of Stars, it was love and nothing more. She was ready to receive it, even if the words escaped her.
Diaval’s lips travelled the smooth crevice between her breasts. He nosed into her, apparently enjoying the softness of her body, and then his tongue twirled slowly around her tingling nipple before he dipped down to gently suck on it.
Maleficent gasped, instinctively shifting to grip the back of Diaval’s head. The heat that had been slowly blooming between her legs was fed by his experimental delves into unfamiliar territory. Or was it unfamiliar?
“ Gods. ” She just about managed to speak, tilting her head to watch him move to pay attention to the other breast. Though she had done a fair job at repressing her sounds thus far, she couldn’t help a low, quiet moan when he held her waist and pulled her up to his waiting lips.
“It’s Diaval,” he reminded her, sparing her a damnable, crooked smirk before returning to work.
She could have kicked him. Instead, she rolled her eyes, running the tips of her fingers slowly across the back of his scalp in the way she did when he was raven-shaped.
“ Diaval ,” she humoured him. “ Have you done this before?”
The chill of the air bit at her increasingly sensitive skin when Diaval drew away. Lying closely beside her, he leant his head on his palm and slowly caressed her abdomen over the thin material covering it.
“No, but … I do know things. Quick as a whip, me. I haven’t existed all this time without learnin’ a thing or two. It’s that good, is it?”
“Hm.” Maleficent’s eyes narrowed playfully. She shifted her legs, feeling a tell-tale warm stickiness between them - but ignored it, for now. “You seem popular among those young maids in Ulstead.”
“Mistress.” Her partner sighed and shook his head, pretending to be disappointed. “That may be so, but I can’t help bein’ this beautiful, now, can I? They can look their fill, but they can’t have me. They don’t know me.” He smiled a bit, then, though it was thoughtful more than it was mischievous. “Not like you know me.”
“You must have thought about it, then.”
“With who? You or the maids?”
Maleficent deliberated a moment, more for show than anything. The quirk to her lips suggested that she was not being serious at all, though she was intrigued.
“You must have thought about it with me.”
Before he could begin to form a response, she took his hand, which had been resting lightly on her belly, and began to slowly push it down, down, towards the apex of her legs. The descent was leisurely enough that it gave Diaval time to realise what was happening and partially recover. His eyes were wide and hungry, relishing in the invitation. At once, he shuffled even closer and moved his arm beneath Maleficent’s head while the other reached down.
“I thought about it,” he admitted coarsely, his gaze moving desperately over her face. “It’s this man-shape of mine, you know. Men have such thoughts, even if I tried to stop them.”
She wasn’t expecting that. Feeling her heart drop for reasons she did not entirely understand, she quickly tightened her hold on Diaval’s hand and tried to distract him away from the shame she had unintentionally summoned. It seemed to work the moment she spread her legs; his face fell, unveiling a countenance that was rife with desire. His breath halted again as soon as she drew his hand down between her thighs. The slip was still covering her there, but there was no doubt he could feel the heat of arousal beneath his fingers.
“The only shame is when it is acted upon where it is not wanted,” Maleficent murmured, burying her hand back into the ebony depths of Diaval’s hair. “ This is wanted. Might you share with me some of these thoughts?”
His gaze was firmly fixed on where his hand disappeared into the folds of her garment. She saw his flushed throat bob with a swallow. Again - was it too much, too soon? Had she thrust her desires at him in such a way that it frightened him? Whether he had thought about it or not, he was giving her more than she had originally considered. His virtue, for one, if his words were to be believed. Such a thing was not a true concept for fairykind, and she doubted whether it was for ravens, too, but still her mind reluctantly teetered on the edges of such paths. For all his frequent arguing and ability to tear a deserving person apart with words alone, Diaval was a sweet soul. A gentle soul. One that believed in true love’s kiss and all the good in the world. Could she ask this of him? To give her himself in such a way?
In that moment, there was nothing more important to her than knowing he truly wanted to give what she was asking of him.
When Diaval did not answer, she inwardly panicked and reached to take his hand away - but he stopped her with a quick shake of his head.
“No. Please, let me. Just needed a second to get my head around it.” Leaning down, he kissed her cheek, and then her lips once more. “I thought about it, but it’s probably, uh … tamer, than what you might have expected.”
“I assure you, I do not expect anything less than sentimental,” Maleficent responded, watching him closely. Any doubts or unwelcome thoughts that might have been lingering as a result of her clumsy seduction crumbled almost entirely, then, for the heat and pleasure that had been slowly blooming at her core fell sweetly back to the forefront of her mind. His fingers - reverent, careful - were caressing her over the silk, feeling their way around without flesh being met. He watched her, and he learnt.
It felt like all too long before he was tugging the hem of her slip upwards and away. Sinking his hand back down, he very gently stroked over her folds and parted them so that he could venture deeper. Once she had opened up to him, he caressed her entrance, playing with the wetness that had amassed there and drawing it up to lubricate his experiments.
Maleficent felt as light as a feather. She was pulled into another, more pleasant world, drifting away with the wind.
“I think about kissin’ you a lot,” Diaval murmured by her ear, watching the arch of her back and the pleasured fidgeting of her legs. By then, he’d found the small, hardened bud that elicited the strongest reactions from her, and he was trying various movements there to see which she liked best. “Sometimes I thought about touchin’ you all over, just like this. It’s almost like having magic of my own makin’ you feel like this. Is it good, Mistress?”
The quiet gruffness of his voice was just as thrilling as this magic he worked between her legs. When his blessed fingers found a rhythm, Maleficent tried to restrain a moan, but it emerged regardless.
“It’s alright. I don’t think anybody is listenin’, and what does it matter if they were, honestly?” He said, and then kissed her earlobe.
He was right. As always.
“It’s good,” the faerie reassured him, squeezing her eyes shut as a wave of pleasurable heat washed over her entire body. The chill of Spring was all but banished by then. She truly did not care where they were as any remnants of her doubts and niggling insecurities followed the chill right out of the cave, perhaps never to be felt again. “Don’t you dare stop. I already feel … Diaval …”
She wasn’t sure, but it seemed her body was more on the sensitive side than usual. Perhaps it was the length of time she had not bothered with such things as bodily pleasure, or perhaps it was simply the strength of the arousal coursing through every inch of her form. The wonderful roughness of his fingers, and the sweet words he murmured into her ear … it was already becoming too much.
“Sometimes, only sometimes, I thought about what it’d be like to be inside you,” Diaval continued quite merrily, even as the flush at his neck and ears deepened. “I’d go slow, so you could really feel it, and then … Or, you’d be on top just … takin’ everything you wanted. And it’d feel amazing. You’re the only person I’d …”
“Don’t stop,” Maleficent demanded again, so breathlessly that she barely made a sound at all. “I’m close, darling.”
Her eyes fluttered open to find him staring at her, his eyebrows reaching for his hairline.
“Close? Close to what?”
There was a genuine moment of … well, she was not quite sure what it was. Mirth? Dread? Sympathy? Perhaps an overwhelming amalgamation of them all, and she stared back at him with a measure of disbelief - up until the moment his wicked facade broke. The man grinned at her and only quickened the precise and delicious movements of his fingers. If not for that, she might have truly kicked him that time.
“Just kiddin’. You should’ve seen the look on your face just then!”
“Diaval, will you get on with it?!”
“Right! Yes. Can I …?”
Flustered, Maleficent mindlessly nodded, assuming that he was taking her quite literally and considering the next step. His hand regretfully pulled away. Despite the absence of his touch, the pleasure of it did not depart; the muscles of her thighs and belly still twitched with a lingering climax that had been undoubtedly, strategically delayed by him.
She did allow herself to glare at him as he got up onto his knees and arranged himself between her open thighs, though her attention was diverted to the welcome prospect of what was to come next. Moving an arm underneath her head, she took the opportunity to admire him as his hands moved slowly down the lengths of her thighs.
His own desire was plain. The swell beneath the leather of his trousers was probably uncomfortable, but there was a mysterious lack of unlacing occurring. Instead, Diaval seemed perfectly content just to admire her for a time, his eyes suddenly so soft that it was almost heartbreaking. Maleficent wondered whether he would share his thoughts, now, but instead they remained just as mysterious as those two dark pools that drank her in with heated tenderness.
Whatever his thoughts might have been, he shook himself out of his reverie.
Diaval pulled back on his haunches. Gently lifting one of her feet, he softly kissed the inside of her ankle. Maleficent watched in growing fascination as he continued these soft little kisses all the way up the length of her calf, handling her with remarkable care. As she watched him, it was difficult not to compare experiences: Stefan had always been rather more regimented in his approach to such things, and almost certainly would have been out of his trousers already.
Diaval was certainly in no hurry. It was his nature to tease. Crouching, he brought her knee to his cheek and affectionately brushed his face against it, watching her with those warm, if nervous, eyes of his. Despite the nature of ravens in the wild, and despite his lack of experience, he seemed very eager to learn how every inch of her would react to his touch, and he somehow did it with tender finesse that left Maleficent admittedly as confused as she was stimulated.
“What are you doing?” She asked, brow furrowing. Truly, she’d expected him to be interested in taking her as soon as possible.
Diaval was halfway down the inside of her thigh by then. She regretted speaking the moment he paused; that area was sensitive, and his lips were igniting trails of fire across her pale skin.
“Is it wrong?” He rasped. Peering at her, he reluctantly began to lower her thigh.
“No.” Maleficent said quickly. “No, I forbid you to stop.”
His crooked smile was at once suggestive and wholly loving.
“You might recall that I left you hangin’ a bit back there, Mistress? I’m not gonna stop now until you’re quivering again. Is that alright with you?”
She did not know how to respond, finding herself further aroused by his choice of words. A creeping flush warmed her usually pale cheeks. He must have seen it despite the pale dimness of the starlit cave, for he smiled again. Gentler, this time.
It was unexpected, but far from unwelcome. Diaval was waiting for her to speak and to signal permission to continue, for which Maleficent was grateful. Though unsure exactly what his plans were, she subtly nodded her head and gestured for him to carry on, unable to pull her gaze away. The difference between him and Stefan was truly outstanding. So much so that it made things easier to stop thinking about Stefan and all unpleasant thoughts and feelings that came with the ghost that lingered in her memory. Steadily, that ghost trickled away like water escaping down an old, forgotten hill.
And all but disappeared into the dirt when Diaval’s tongue suddenly made its presence known between her legs.
Maleficent made a sound unlike any sound that she had ever made in her entire life. Surprise caused her to jump slightly and close her thighs about Diaval’s head. Trapped there, he huffed with laughter and tried to pry her legs apart while she heaved and stared at him in utter shock.
“What on earth are you doing?” She demanded, hearing an unfamiliar strain to her voice. “I thought you were going to …” Struggling, she gestured loosely towards his nethers.
“Well … Mistress, somethin’ else I thought about was serving you this way,” Diaval admitted, gazing longingly down at her core as if it was a long-lost treasure recently unearthed. Out of what seemed to be curiosity’s sake, he parted her gently with his thumbs and gave himself a good look at what he would be dealing with.
“Diaval,” Maleficent sighed. It was all she could think to say. Still riding high on the wave of surprise, it took her a moment to come to terms with what he was suggesting. There was no doubt at all that he would be able to make it feel extraordinary, for he seemed confident. And indeed, she ached for something that she did not know had even existed until now. It was there in the way he beheld her, a clear desire to bring her nothing but pleasure now that the opportunity was there.
He always did bring her the finest gifts.
The faerie did not much like feeling clueless about anything. Again, however, there was no time to let insecurity run abound untethered. In wary invitation, she parted her legs enough to let him lower himself down again, and from there he met her eyes and looked at her with nothing but reverence.
“You’re so beautiful, Mistress. It’s sort of unfair, really.”
“You always remark on your own beauty, dear,” she reminded him, arching a brow.
“Well, yes, but it’s not the same. All ravens are pretty. You’re beautiful like the Moon is beautiful, y’know. A true heavenly body.” Pleased with his clever little compliment, he winked garishly and waggled his eyebrows. “I just thought of that. Just then.”
“True genius,” Maleficent responded dryly, secretly pleased with what she had heard. “You could be keeping that silver tongue of yours busy with other things, however, though that is only a suggestion - seeing as you were so eager mere moments ago.”
“I’m still eager! I was just warmin’ you up with my words. It’s all part of the foreplay experience.”
“Well, get on with it, then. I fear any climax you might have coaxed from me earlier has since crawled outside and banished itself into the Otherworld.”
That was almost embarrassingly untrue.
Diaval pretended to look panicked at that. Keeping her folds gently parted, he moved in and swiped his tongue all the way up the length of her.
It took all Maleficent’s willpower not to clamp her legs around his head again. With a tremor, she eased her legs over his shoulders and pressed her heels into the reassuring solidness of his back. As for her hands, she did not quite know what to do with them - but the moment he eased his tongue towards her entrance and buried himself into her, she could not help but seize the dark cloak beneath them, gripping it tightly.
Like this, surely she was more open, more vulnerable to a man than she had ever been intimately, but any initial embarrassment was very short lived. Diaval was clearly enjoying himself, handing nearly unbearable pleasure to her in spades as he did all sorts of wicked and wonderful things with his tongue. His resolve was such that he did not stop even when her hips bucked upwards. Instead, he wrapped his arms around her thighs and kept her as well pinned as he could, quietly humming in response to her increasingly insistent whines and cries of bliss.
There was no control over the movements of her body. So lost was Maleficent in the remarkable, hot haze of it all that she barely noticed what she was doing. She tugged at the cloak, cast her hands about her own body in search of something, anything, to hold on to and help her exert the excitable energy forming in her limbs.
Diaval stopped only to pull away just enough that he might open her just a little more, a fully fledged curiosity in the way he eased a finger into the warm passage that awaited. After keeping it there a moment, he added another. Her inner walls clung to him, and he looked surprised by that, slowly withdrawing - only to push back in, again, and again …
“Like this?” He croaked up at her, another flush of arousal creeping up his cheeks. “Gods, it’s so …”
Whatever it was, Maleficent never found out. She squirmed and flung an arm over her eyes, swallowing heavily as his fingers - thicker and rougher than her own - slowly eased that gentle pressure in and out of her. She was opened and slick enough that it proved no struggle at all, and it didn’t take long for that deep ache in her loins to remind her it was there, craving something more. All of him, now . However, something told her he was not going to give it. Not yet.
“Wonderful,” she commended breathlessly, subtly rolling her hips to meet the careful thrusts of his fingers. “Diaval, I need you, now. I’m ready.”
“I know. Just a little longer, Maleficent.”
So absorbed was she in the gift of pleasure that he gave her, she didn’t even notice his use of her name.
She made a noise of frustration. Moving her arm from her eyes, she raised her head in time to see him honing in on the crown of her, and then - well …
It was as though he was eating a particularly decadent fruit. His lips latched on and gently suckled at her.
How could it feel so good? How was such a thing even possible? Why was he so flagrantly attentive? Such questions were extremely short-lived. Maleficent trembled and arched and moaned, entirely under the thrall of the magic that her partner worked. When his tongue darted out to caress her, she cried out and buried her hands into his hair, for there was truly nothing else that she could think to do with herself.
It didn’t take long at all until she was on the very cusp again.
“Faster,” she begged, and Diaval obeyed her at once. The thrust of his hand between her thighs quickened, as did the short, swiping movements of his tongue.
It could have been seconds or minutes. Maleficent lost track. For all she expected deciding to advance their relationship in such a way, it was not this . Every part of her felt alight, glowing with a sort of energy she was sure she had never felt. In kind, golden magic sparkled at her fingers, glittering in between the dark-strands of Diaval’s hair like fireflies. Her magic spread along the ground, creeping through the moss and the leaves and formed a sheer mist that lit the cave in a warm, golden glow.
Her wings shook and fidgeted, strong feathers slapping against the earth below. She simply could not reign them in. She was elevated to that precipice, her stomach and thighs trembling with the prospect of falling down, down into a well of rapture. And when the fall came - she saw stars, and was for a time lost to a world she had never seen so clearly before.
She only became aware of the sound of her own voice moments later. Fleeting, breathy moans interspersed with Diaval’s name. That all-consuming tide of bona fide bliss slowly, gently began to wane, though her thighs continued to shake about her partner’s head as his ministrations eagerly continued. Maleficent cried out when it eventually became too much, and she was forced to pull him away from her at long last.
Her body fell limp. With one last little kiss to her thigh, Diaval wiped his lips on his forearm and gazed down at her with an expression she certainly had never seen on him before. It was hungry. Feral, even, his inhuman eyes alight with pure desire and no doubt a deep, long shunned instinct. However thrilling it was, it was short-lived; Diaval sat back on his ankles as a more familiar warmth came to settle, instead.
“Mistress,” he murmured, as though to bring her back to earth, “are you alright?”
Maleficent closed her thighs together, feeling there the evidence of an intense stimulation. Her hips ached pleasantly. Eyes briefly fluttering shut, she reached for him, and then felt his hand slide gently into hers.
Diaval shifted around to the side of her and helped ease her up into a seated position, wings and all. There, the faerie rested gratefully against his shoulder, allowing him a moment to hold her.
“Yes,” she replied when she found her voice. “Darling, that was …” The words were lost. Remembering herself, she straightened and stretched her back a little, glaring playfully at him all the while. “I think you thought about that rather a lot. Otherwise, the mind truly boggles. What other talents might you be hiding?”
“Ah, Mistress, I deserve some secrets,” Diaval said lightly
Speaking of secrets …
Maleficent appraised him, her gaze falling from his face down to his broad chest, and then further down still. It seemed that his excitement had not waned, straining there beneath his trousers. Gingerly, as not to surprise him, she reached down and very softly brushed her hand along the firmness that she found, watching his belly immediately tense in response.
She had to be careful. This was his first intimate touch, after all. Something told her he had not thought about his own pleasure quite as much, and could not be quite as clever. Indeed, he proved to be remarkably sensitive, his breath catching whenever her fingers would drift along his concealed length.
Turning to face him, she deftly undid his belt and tossed it over to where her dress lay abandoned. All the while, she held his gaze and kept his attention, pulling at the laces of his trousers. They fell open. She saw then a twinge of nerves on Diaval’s face. Slowly and gently, she reached in to free him from the confines of the leather.
Now, she had seen him naked before. More than once, in fact - but never like this, when he was fully stimulated. His skin, already flushed with coveting, seemed to flush all the more when she took hold of him and eased the sheath down over the sensitive head, stroking her thumb over the moistened tip.
Diaval quietly gasped, unconsciously rolling his hips up into the softness of her waiting hand.
It was truly a marvel. The man was no true human at all, and yet the faerie was able to invoke such a response from him. The warm weight of him in her hand stoked the wanting ache between her legs, and though she could have sat there and stroked him to completion, her urges proved too strong to ignore this time.
Excitement flared within her as she moved forwards up onto him and astride his thighs. With him still held in her hand, she kept him poised, though did not descend just yet; Diaval was clearly surprised and more nervous than ever, no matter how hard he tried to hide it. He could never truly hide anything of what he was feeling.
Maleficent felt his lightly trembling hands come to rest on her hips, and could hardly bear it.
“Diaval,” she murmured, tilting his head back up to her. “Are you ready for this?”
“Yes, Mistress. Yes. Forgive me, I just … it’s hard to believe it’s happening. Please.” His hands squeezed beseechingly at her thighs. “Please, Mistress. I need you.”
His begging stirred an excitement of a whole new kind. Maleficent stored that knowledge away for later. There was, of course, no chance of her ignoring his devilish teasing from earlier on.
“Alright.” With him positioned at her entrance, she brought her arms around his shoulders and moved in to press a kiss to the tip of his pointed nose, and then his lips, tasting herself on him. “Then you have me.”
In that cave, Maleficent and Diaval gave themselves to each other after twenty long years.
She sank down onto him. The faerie moaned into his cheek, feeling the sweet stretch of accommodation. Once fully seated, she pulled back a little and watched him, gaze skirting over his handsome features and the pleasured flutter of his eyelids. It seemed she had stolen his words entirely. There were no clever remarks or jokes to be heard, only the stutter of his breathing as he accustomed himself to being inside her.
When he looked at her in turn, love blazed as well as a flame in his dark, deep eyes, plainly there for her to see and do what she willed with it.
It was a perfect feeling, the way he filled her. It almost seemed a shame to move and encourage its end. Fuelled by a near rampaging desire, Maleficent leaned in and kissed him again, deepening it at once. In response, Diaval wrapped his arms around her and held her close when she began to slowly rock her hips and bring a sweet friction to their union. Quietly, he moaned against her lips and forgot himself, his head falling back to expose the attractive length of his throat. It was an invitation Maleficent could not ignore. Quickening her pace just so, she leaned down and kissed him there, lips travelling over his adam’s apple to the solid edge of his neck and the sensitive spots beneath his ear.
He was wonderful. He was hers .
He hit that spot inside her again and again with each roll of her hips. It was a different sort of pleasure to what he had granted her before, but no less beautiful. So intense was the sweetness of the sensation that she actually felt tears come to her eyes, and was grateful that he could not see them (it would either end in playful ribbing or tears of his own, no doubt).
Slowly did her movements speed up. Using his shoulders as leverage, she rocked her hips over his waist and welcomed him into her again, again. Diaval was doing remarkably well, considering, though he did appear to be measuring his breathing, and a slight sheen of sweat was forming across his forehead and chest. For all his attempts to keep himself going and under control, it did not take much longer until his hold around her tightened and a deep, scratchy groan escaped him.
Surprised to find herself being pulled off him, Maleficent waited a moment to adjust to the sudden absence of him inside her. Glancing down, she found his length flushed and twitching beneath her having been denied its release. As realisation slowly dawned, she took the opportunity to regain her breath and recover somewhat, lowering back down to sit on his thighs.
“Sorry,” Diaval just about managed, looking genuinely apologetic and a bit dazed. “I didn’t want to - not yet.”
“It’s alright. Take a moment.”
“It feels so good.”
“I know, darling. I know.”
While she waited for him to gather his wits, she leisurely massaged his shoulders and tickled her claws down the length of his spine. He did seem to enjoy that a good deal, all but melting within her hold. Falling forwards, he took hold of her back and then eased her down onto the cloak, much to her further surprise, though she welcomed the change in position. Smiling, she ran the bottom of her foot over his chest when he positioned himself between her legs, and tickled his ear with her big toe before settling her calves on his shoulders.
Diaval lifted her waist up onto his thighs. Stooping down briefly to kiss her, he took hold of her hips and guided himself back inside her, painfully slow.
Such a position allowed him to take control over the speed at which they went, now. He did not waste time in taking advantage of it. Holding her fast, he began a solid pace. Strong, even, already pounding into her as if this was their last night alive, his instincts and sheer wild need to take her possessing him entirely. He was beautiful, beautiful like that, his hair falling into his closed eyes, a grimace of bliss on his face. The sweat on his body shone in the starlight beaming through the mouth of the cave.
Her second climax took her quite by surprise. Overwhelmed, the faerie screamed and flung her arms up past her head. Turning in to the pale skin of her arm, she arched into his hold and trembled around him, her inner walls gripping him all the more tightly to the point he had to slow down. By then, he was watching her again, and he did not stop, even as Maleficent writhed and sung her pleasure for the entire river to hear.
Diaval dropped down on top of her, riding out the last waves of it. She near tore at his back as soon as she could get her claws into him, and he made a low noise into her shoulder that could have been of pleasure or pain. Before long, his pace stuttered, and then his entire body tensed in a quiet but clearly intense finish.
A heat filled her from within. By the end, Diaval gasped and relaxed in her grip, dropping his head down entirely onto her shoulder.
Then, silence. As sudden as this very endeavour.
Peace fell over them. Maleficent remained truly stunned for a good while, caught in a state of both disbelief and a fiery rapture that still burned and trembled through her core and legs. While she tried to contemplate it all in her daze, she moved a hand to the back of Diaval’s head and stroked her fingers through his hair. The poor thing was still bent over her, his back overcome with tremors, while his length continued to pulse hotly inside her.
Eventually, he did move and very carefully pull out. The faerie whined a little with the sensation of it leaving, staring lasciviously at her partner when he did a sort of awkward flop to the side, apparently unsure what to do next. His pale chest heaved as he recovered, though the rest of him was entirely limp with satiation.
It took him a great deal of effort to roll onto his side. For some strange reason, he actually looked worried .
“Mistress, was that …” he croaked, oddly strained. “I’d hate to think I might have hurt you at all. And - is it alright that I, well … inside .”
Maleficent raised her eyebrows at that. Shifting her wing, she too rolled to face him, staring him straight in the eye.
“Diaval, you did not give me anything that I did not want, I assure you. I would have told you so. You were … surprisingly adequate.”
That caused him to smile a little, whether out of relief or amusement was not yet clear.
“I’m glad. It …”
Horrified to see him welling up, all she could do was gaze at him with rising dread. Comforting anyone was not her forte at all, though she was highly unsure whether that was what this situation called for. What did it call for? Her thoughts were still sparse and too frazzled to figure it out.
“Diaval, what on earth is the matter?” She asked sharply, that dread bubbling up and balling unpleasantly in her throat.
At once, Diaval quickly rubbed at his eyes and laughed a bit out of embarrassment.
“Nothin’. You’ll find it silly, Mistress. It just felt amazin’. And it was you, of course I …” He paused with a shake of his head. “Just got overwhelmed. You know me. I’ll cry at anythin’. I fill up whenever I think about the fact Aurora is a mother now. Oh -“ Just like that, his eyes refilled at once. “See? It doesn’t take anythin’ these days!”
Shuffling uncomfortably, Maleficent wasn’t sure whether to believe him.
“Dear, are you certain that’s all it is?”
“Yes, mistress. I - thank you, for … I’m not sure what I’m thankin’ you for, it was just - to do that with you, well …”
It could have just been sentimentality. Indeed, he was a man with an enormous heart just as much as he was a raven. However, Maleficent was no fool, and did come to realise that he was fumbling over trying not to say what it was he really meant. She had seen it before whenever he’d try to skirt around the truth of a matter.
“You’ve lost your words,” she remarked with a gentility that surprised even her. Reaching for his hand, she brought it up to her chest to hold it there. “Does it bother you? What we just did?”
“No. Never. Anythin’ you need, Mistress. That’s what I said. I meant it.”
His lips pressed together. He searched her eyes like one might turn to the night sky in search of answers, but he did not appear to find whatever it was he was looking for among those more knowable stars of green and gold.
His gaze drifted down and his brow pinched.
He would never say what he really meant, not while he believed he’d performed as a servant and not as a lover.
There was a time the faerie believed that chasing love was a fool’s errand. She had believed such for a long time. Now, however, she had seen more of the goodness of the world and was the happiest she’d been since Stefan. Her heart had never truly turned away from love, not when she had known it before. Not when she knew it now in the way she adored her family, in the sweet smile of Aurora and in the raven that had stepped in to fill the void Stefan left behind in both of them.
Diaval loved them, but did not expect that love in turn.
He was already smirking again when Maleficent refocused. There was no evidence of his tears at all, now.
“You look very deep in thought, y’know,” He observed jovially. “I hope you enjoyed it, too, at least. I don’t know about you, but I feel very relaxed, which is … a first, in this place.”
“It was wonderful,” Maleficent agreed, staring at him.
They gazed at each other a moment more.
After an audible swallow, Diaval rolled onto his back again and pulled away from her to tug his trousers back up. Once they were laced, he sat up and felt blindly around for his shirt, displaying the rather vivid red streaks adorning his upper back. One of them was even bleeding a bit, but he seemed not to notice or care; he was the sort that would wear them like a trophy, even if Maleficent would likely be the only one to see them.
He used the shirt to dab at the sweat on his brow instead of putting it on. Flinging it aside, he picked up Maleficent’s dress and silently folded it to the best of his ability despite it already being crumpled beyond repair.
As she watched him, the ache in her heat grew exponentially. Somebody may as well have reached in and twisted it within their palm. She’d thought a show of affection might have been enough, but no, the world was never quite that simple. More than that, the both of them deserved the freedom to say all the things that had remained behind locked doors and brief glances for so long.
Freedom, it seemed, was not the easiest thing to step into. No matter how often they kissed and touched and succumbed to each other, there would never be anything more powerful than the words they refused to share out of fear of them. The true fool’s errand was believing such secrets were still a necessity, now.
Diaval straightened his back and stretched, unleashing an ungodly sound of satisfaction along with it.
“HnnnnGUH! Ah! Stay right there, Mistress. I’ll bring us some water. Ah, and some more food, too. I’m really - I’m starvin’ again.”
“Positively wasting away,” Maleficent retorted in a dry tone. Curling slightly, she drew her wing in over herself and resumed watching him. Gods, but she was still tingling all over and was sure her legs would give out if she were to stand. Even so, warmth flared yet again between her legs, as though to demand that the night not be over just yet.
There was an invitation in the gold of her eyes. Diaval did not seem to notice, rising to his feet and heading for the ragged, stone arch that led outside.
“Diaval?” The faerie called tersely. She had meant to muster up the courage to do so, first, and suddenly found herself without the words to continue. But no - she did have them, they were right there, she knew what they were and they were begging to be freed.
He turned and looked at her expectantly.
Just say it. Say it! It can’t be that difficult!
“I …” Maleficent paused, lips pursing. That iron barrier about her mind threatened to crumble and finally break. “... Be careful.”
Close enough. For now.
“Oh! Did I just hear that with my own two ears? Well wishes?” Diaval relinquished another damnable smile. “Alright, then. I’ll do my best not to get kidnapped by a banshee. Again. It is nearly the witchin’ hour.”
“You had best be back before then, darling.”
Diaval awkwardly lingered a moment longer. What a vision he was, framed by the moon and stars and the darkness of the aether, his skin glistening and his hair sticking up in all directions. Strangely, she was certain she had never been more attracted to him.
But he deserved more. So much more.
Maybe they both did. To spread their wings and fly higher than they had ever flown before.
With one last smile, Diaval turned and disappeared into the night.
Illustration by swankkat!