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Followed by the Thud

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Will the teasing of the fire be followed by the thud?
“The Fire and the Thud” - Arctic Monkeys

Alina gets like this on occasion.

He once told her he would take a lifetime to break her. It’s been lifetimes, but she still sometimes fights him for the sake of it, still acts some days like the sullen, petulant girl she became after his mother ruined all of his plans.

Even if they did not share a bond, hundreds of years at Alina’s side would be more than enough for Aleksander to easily notice the signs of her displeasure. There’s the crease between her brows, the tightness in her jaw, the stiffness of her back, the fire in her eyes like she’s burning from within. His darling wife who is standing silently in the doorway of his chambers certainly seems to be in a mood today.

“Speak your mind, Alina,” he tells her without looking up from the map before him. He knows it bothers her when he doesn’t give her his full attention, and he can feel her irritation grow between their tether.

She strides forward but still keeps her distance. “Did you have any plans of listening to my concerns in the council meeting, or do you rule this country alone now?”

“I did listen,” Aleksander responds evenly, moving two Grisha miniatures across the True Sea to land in Novyi Zem. He still does not look up.

“And yet you moved forward with your foolish plan.”

Foolish. An attempt at provocation if he’s ever heard one. He sits down and opens his journal, a gift from Alina last winter. It is bound with black leather, intricately embossed by a skilled Fabrikator, with Sasha scribed on the first page in her neat, curling script. She only calls him that when she’s feeling particularly sentimental, and it makes his heart do secret, unnameable things when she does. Not that he has to worry about that today with the foulness of her mood. He scribbles a note about moving the First and Second Armies northward. “We agreed that military matters were my jurisdiction, Alinochka.”

“Don’t call me that,” she says.

His pen hovers over the page for a moment. This is more than annoyance about military tactics. “Come here,” he says before continuing his task. He can feel her indecision and can imagine the battle happening in that pretty little skull of hers. But Aleksander knows the discomfort of silence, how it can stretch and press until it’s too uncomfortable to bear. They have nothing but time, and he can wait as long as it takes for her to make her decision.

Alina finally decides to cross the room, but then she opens her little mouth again as she comes to stand before him. “The First Army—”

His hand is in her hair in an instant, fisting the white strands tightly. He scoots his chair back and yanks her down into his lap. He looks at her, finally, and sees that familiar fire in her eyes. His lips curl into a cruel smile. “Don’t call you that?” he asks, dismissing whatever complaint she was about to file with him. “What should I call you, hmm?” The grip in her hair tightens, and he pulls her head back, exposing the lovely column of her throat. “Your Majesty?” His mouth breathes against her neck before pressing a kiss above the antlers. She gasps; even after all of this time, his touch still ignites her, their bond thrumming with pleasure and power. “Sankta?” She bristles suddenly at that; she dislikes when he uses that name in such a way, but he still kisses her throat, smiling as he does so. “It doesn’t matter.” He tilts her head down until her eyes meet his, his fist still pulling her hair taut. “I will call you whatever I like, little wife.” His other hand comes up and caresses her face, her neck, brushing against her collar.

“Let go of me,” she responds on a shaky exhale, and Aleksander’s grin turns wolfish.

“You’re just raring for a fight, huh?” The hand at her neck tightens. “Fine.” He’ll give it to her. He squeezes her throat, carefully watching her reaction — her eyes fluttering closed, her mouth falling open, her face reddening under the strain. He waits one moment and then another before releasing her, and then a soft, needy cry falls from her lips.

It’s a sound he knows very well.

“Oh,” he whispers, his brows quirking upward, everything falling into place. “You need it badly, don’t you, my darling?”

Sometimes his beautiful wife — tsaritsa, sankta, Sun Summoner — carries too heavy a burden and finds herself in need of a steady hand to guide her, to clear her mind, to tame her demons. She will never ask for it; she hates that she needs it, and she’s too stubborn for her own good. But she’ll fight until she gets it.

And he’s a benevolent, giving man, after all.

“Answer me,” he says lowly, his voice husky and deep.

Alina’s nostrils flare and her jaw clenches, defiance heavy in her eyes when she opens them again. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she says finally.

He tilts his head, raises his brows, and blinks at her slowly. “Even if we were not bonded, Alina, I know when you’re lying to me.” His thumb brushes her pulse point. “Two hundred years will do that.” He scoots the chair back even farther and flips her, putting her over his knee. She cries out in frustration and tries to sit up, and he digs his elbow into her back. “If you fight it less, little wife, you’ll enjoy it more. Now,” he says, trailing a hand down her spine, “be a good girl and pull up your kefta for me.”

“You’re unbearable,” she says, but after another long, stubborn moment, she reaches back and pulls up the fabric of her robe. He yanks down her underthings, dropping them to the floor, and an appreciative hum immediately slips from his lips. He will never get over how beautiful she is. He should’ve made her undress completely so he could fully appreciate her, but they’re here now. He brushes his hand against her soft, supple skin. He is gentle for only a moment, before he grips her hip tightly and manhandles her more firmly against him. Then, before she has time to settle, he brings his hand down in a hard smack, making her flesh bounce beneath his palm.

She gasps, and when he pulls back, he sees a bright red handprint blooming against her skin. He gives a pleased smile. “Is this what moya solnyshka needed?” he croons, hitting her again and then once more. “You can just ask me, Alina. We don’t have to play these silly games.”

She shakes her head. “No,” she replies through clenched teeth, which earns her a particularly hard strike, making her groan.

“Why?” He begins a rhythm, alternating sides, varying up the severity of each hit. She gasps and moans, her body jerking under the swiftness of his hand. “Does it embarrass you? That something within you needs to be put over your husband’s knee and dealt with accordingly?” He continues his assault on her backside with one hand and fists his other hand in her hair, pulling her head back at an obviously uncomfortable angle. “Which is worse, Alina? Asking me nicely for something you need or acting like a sullen, ill-tempered brat until I have no choice but to beat the petulance out of you?”

“I do not need this,” she admonishes, trying to push away from him. “Now stop it.”

Aleksander laughs darkly. “You don’t want me to stop at all, Alinochka. Which is exactly why I will.” He immediately changes tasks, squeezing and pinching her ass, digging in his fingers until she groans. “My wife needs to learn to ask for what she wants.” Her skin is hot to the touch, and he scrapes his palm against it in a cruel friction until she cries out. “So go on.” He bends down and whispers in her ear. “Beg.

He can see even from this angle how tightly her eyes squeeze shut. “Aleksander,” she whispers reluctantly, pulling against the hand in her hair.

“As much as I will never tire of my name in your mouth, that’s not enough, Alina.” He lets go of her entirely, his hands moving to the arm rests for a moment before picking up his journal and flipping back a page. He reads the notes he wrote yesterday as she wriggles futilely in his lap. His cock, already half hard from spanking his brat of a wife, thickens fully from the friction, but he ignores it. He reads another page, and then another, until her movements become too distracting. “You can be still,” he says gruffly, “or you can get up and leave. Or… you can simply ask for what you want.”

He can feel so many things through her bond: annoyance, reluctance, embarrassment, desperation. “I hate you sometimes,” she says softly.

He hums in response and turns another page.

It takes a few moments more but she finally relents. “Please.”

Aleksander holds his journal in one hand and softly trails his fingertips against the swell of her ass. “Please what?”

Alina’s body sags against him and she takes a deep breath. “Please strike me.” Her voice is small when she asks, and though it’s difficult to see her face from this angle, he can imagine the lovely flush that must be creeping over her cheekbones and the scowl gracing her mouth.

He sets down the journal. He gifts her with his hardest hit yet, his own palm stinging fiercely from the force of it, and she arches against him, a cry falling from her pretty mouth. “That’s it,” he says with praise. He hits her again and again. “That’s it. So good for me now. You just had to ask, Alinochka.”

His hand falls to her ass, her thighs, over and over, until she’s a sobbing, gasping mess, writhing against his hand. He can feel the tension in their bond smoothing over, little by little, as he continues his ministrations, and he knows the catharsis this must bring her. When he believes she’s finally had enough, he slows to a stop. He gently caresses her red, bruising skin, listening as she sniffles and catches her breath. “Is that enough? Or do you need more?”

She whimpers, a soft, quiet little thing that tugs at his heart. “Touch me,” she breathes, seeming to have at least temporarily overcome her aversion to asking for what she wants. “Please,” she then adds, as if remembering she was still over his knee.

“Where?” he asks, wondering if she notices the gruffness of his voice.

She sighs, parting her legs, reaching back for his hand and placing it between her thighs. “Here.”

Oh. She is already so hot and swollen and slick. “Alina,” he groans. “See how wet you are?” He leans over, spreading the globes of her ass apart to look at her cunt. “So wet for me. Look at this.” He rubs his fingers through her folds, the sound of it obscene against the otherwise quiet room. “You’re just aching for it. Need me to fill you up, little wife?” He slips two fingers inside of her.

“Yes,” she gasps, arching back into his hand, “Aleksander.”

He curls his fingers within her, thrusting them in and out, watching her quiver beneath him as she moans so prettily. And he can’t help it, her lovely ass is right there, already red and abused, and he gives it another mean smack as he fingers her.

Saints,” she cries out, trembling. She pushes back against his hand. “Aleksander. Please.” She sounds wrecked and needy, his little saint. “Fuck me.”

He smirks, planning to tease her, to mock her desperation. But when he pulls her upward and onto his lap, he sees the sincere, vulnerable openness of her desire in the depth of her dark eyes, as though tonight has toppled the walls she erected long ago to keep him out. He feels it so strongly through their bond that it overwhelms him, tugging his own hunger to the surface, fusing with hers until he can no longer tell them apart.

“Need to have you,” he growls suddenly, opening his trousers and pulling out his cock. He fists it in one hand, and wraps his other arm around her waist. Alina lifts the silk of her kefta out of the way, and he slides his cock against her center, rubbing her clit with it, gathering her wetness through her slick folds. Her gasp undoes him, and he grunts, pulling her close to him. “Need you,” he whispers into her neck, a confession wrenched from the very depths of him. He needs her here and now in this carnal way, but he’s always needed her.

From the first day he met her, he knew he would be lost without her.

“You hate it, don’t you?” she asks softly, carding her fingers gently through his hair. “How much you need me?”



Aleksander pulls back and meets her gaze. “As much as you do, darling,” he replies and slips inside of her. He grinds up into the tight, wet heat of her cunt, cupping her ass, pressing her firmly against him, as though trying his best to meld them together. His grip is harsh as he fucks up into her, digging his fingertips into her sensitive flesh, and she cries out, her brows furrowing with both pain and pleasure.

“So beautiful like this,” he groans, snaking one hand up her back to fist in her hair. He brings her mouth to his, and she kisses him back fiercely, teeth and tongue, riding him like she can’t get enough of him. It sets him on fire, flames of pleasure licking up his spine, making their rhythm frenzied.

“Aleksander,” she gasps, taking his hand from her hair and slipping it between her thighs, pressing it to her clit. “I need you to touch me.”

His circles his fingers around the little bundle of nerves, watching as her eyes slip shut and her head falls back. “Anything my little wife needs.” He can feel himself getting closer, and he refocuses his full attention on bringing her to the edge and tipping her over. “Desperate for it, aren’t you? My cock in your needy little cunt. All empty without me.”

“Y-yes.” She pulls him closer. “Saints,” she huffs in disbelief, like she can’t believe how good it is, and when her gasps and cries become more frantic, and he gives her a smug grin.

“Come on, Alinochka.” She whimpers, and he thinks she doesn’t hate that name so much after all. “Come for me. Let me hear how much you need it.” A few more thrusts is all it takes to send her over the edge, and she cries out, her cunt clenching around his cock as she trembles above him. “That’s it.” She falls forward against him, and he fucks her harder and faster now, clutching her hips tightly as he slams into her.

He’s so lost in it that his climax surprises him, and when it overtakes him, he whispers her name like a prayer, like a benediction, as though he were no better than her halfwitted pilgrims. If only they knew the things their beloved saint lets him do to her.

She is loose and pliant in his arms now, and he holds her as they both come down. He pets her hair and trails his fingers down her back.

The silence stretches for several moments until she finally speaks. “The First Army,” she mumbles against his neck.

He rolls his eyes. “Have you ever heard of an afterglow?” He sinks further into his chair and pulls her more tightly against him. “In the morning. We’ll discuss in the morning.”

She pulls back and eyes him warily. “You promise?”

He tilts his head before reaching out and caressing her cheek. “Would I lie to you?”


Aleksander huffs a laugh. He doesn’t correct her. “Yes, I promise, Alinochka.”

“I’m holding you to it,” she says, but for once, his wife seems content.

And the Grand Palace can rest at ease.