Actions

Work Header

love and war

Work Text:

Alina thinks that this feeling must be what the Grisha who take power-enhancing drugs feel like. She feels some type of high, almost as if she’s floating above the ballroom, above the faces of the people staring at her, calling her Sankta Alina. 

 

A title she never dreamed of, or truly wanted. But now, to hear people say it, she wonders if the rushing in her ears is actually all of that power calling out to them in answer, as if crying yes. 

 

She lifts her gaze from the person she speaks with, eyes automatically drawn around the room in search of the other half of this great and terrible power, the darkness that she’d needed to show her light. 

 

He is already staring at her. 

 

***

 

When he hands her the bouquet of blue irises, Alina feels her heart do a very strange thing — it squeezes, her insides twisting and skin heating and mouth curling up into a smile she’s never felt herself make before. He looks at her, and it’s as if he sees right through her, down to her heartbeat, the power that slinks through her veins like a rushing river, as if he knows exactly what it looks like. 

 

He takes her hand and leads her away, and Alina tries not to stutter over her words, to trip over her own feet as the General of the Ravkan Army ignores everyone and everything but her. She knows, distantly, how they must look. Like they are entangled, infatuated, as if they’re plotting — and, are they? Part of her feels as though they are. 

 

They’re connected in this strange way, even more so since that silly, foolish kiss she bestowed on him this morning. It is all she has been able to think about, even during her demonstration. The way he had looked at her, as if she truly were the most beautiful sunrise in all of Ravka, in all the world; as if he’d wanted, in part, to help her to shine even brighter. But Alina thought, behind those dark, lovely eyes, that she saw something a little more ravenous, a little more dangerous. She wonders if to help her shine, he would shroud the rest of the world in darkness, until she had no choice but to flood him with light. 

 

Wonders if he would relish in it — the destruction and the creation. 

 

Aleksander leads her into his rooms, letting go of her only to shut the door behind them, as she desperately tries to put some distance between them, to think just a little bit as he lights the lamp above the fireplace. 

 

“I don’t recall this being part of the schedule,” Alina tries to make light of her nerves, smelling the delicate scent of the blue irises still clasped in her hand. Aleksander’s eyes cut across the room, right over to her, just like they have done since the moment she entered the hall dressed in his color. 

 

“It isn’t,” Aleksander says quietly, watching the light dance off of the angles of her face as it grows brighter. Alina sets her flowers down, turning her back to him and trying — trying so desperately — to catch a breath that seems to always elude her when he is within her reach, within her space. The scent of him is all around the room: dark nights and icy woods, storms on the horizon. 

 

“Perhaps you would prefer to attend the dinner,” The Darkling says, waving a hand as if to gesture to the door as he steps closer, the sound of his boots clicking the only thing louder than Alina’s rapid heartbeat in her ears. She smiles. 

 

“Marie can manage,” Alina jokes, tilting her head towards him, as he continues to draw closer and closer. 

 

“By herself?” He asks, lips quirking up as if he makes to tease her, eyebrows raised. 

 

“She has Genya,” Alina manages to say, breathless with his increasing proximity. He is barely feet away, close enough for her to touch. 

 

“Ah,” Aleksander hums softly, the sound rough in his throat as he stops next to her, turned one way while she is turned the other, the shadows of them melding together on the wall, as if they have already become one in some way that she has no name for. “Well, then, I suppose she’ll probably be alright.” 

 

He always speaks much slower than she does, every word careful and thought out where her’s are rapid and impulsive, much like her actions. But Aleksander — he is always one step ahead. She admires it, even if it frightens her to know that such a capacity for planning, for thought, could allow him to take her apart piece by piece in whatever way he chooses. He knows how, she thinks; has thought of the ways in which she would dissolve into mist if he looked at her in just the right way. 

 

He turns towards her, and Alina finds herself smiling, blushing, under his impossibly dark gaze as his mouth turns up into an equal smile, one that she thinks should be outlawed entirely with how lovely it looks. 

 

“Don’t you think?” he asks, his voice low, soft, only for her to hear. 

 

Alina meets his gaze. 

 

Her heart does that squeezing in her chest again, as he leans down and the scent of his cologne washes over her, the warmth that she can feel emanating from him as his body leads closer. 

 

She wants him. Saints, she wants him.

 

More than she has ever wanted anything, she thinks. 

 

He kisses her, and it is like an answer to a question she had not known she was asking. 

 

With her, he is soft, and beneath the heavy, dark exterior she sees him — he is lonely, perhaps just as lonely as she is. In each other, they have found answers to questions Alina did not realize she was asking, questions that he has been ruminating on all along. 

 

Her hands slide into his hair, feeling the soft strands beneath her fingers as he tugs her closer, cups her jaw and kisses her as though he’ll never get the chance again. Nothing about this kiss is safe, Alina knows — not just because it’s him, but because of the way he does it, the way he tugs her into his body until she is pressed along the length of him, the way she knows that he intends never to let her go. 

 

It is dark beneath the gentleness, beneath the smile he gives her. In the same way that he had gripped her head days ago in this very room, after she had let the light wash out the shadows that he had been gathering, he is not necessarily gentle with her now. He is trying to be, she can tell that much. The way he grips her though, is possessive, each kiss more claiming than the next. 

 

His tongue slides over her lower lip, and Alina does not think when she parts her mouth and allows him in, lets him slide his tongue behind her teeth and taste her, learn her. She has never been kissed like this before; she has been kissed, has been taken in ways that were awkward and fumbling and fueled by nothing more than a desire to feel another person. Nothing like the way Aleksander kisses her and holds her, as if she is altogether precious and at the same time something that he intends to break apart. 

 

He reaches down and slides his palm over her thigh, guides it up around his waist, and Alina eagerly responds, curling her body into his and clinging to him when he picks her up in his arms and deposits her atop the war room table, atop a map of their world littered with flags. Beside here, in the area that marks Os Alta, she sees his flag: a black banner with a golden eclipse. But when Alina turns her head to let him kiss her neck, she notices something new. 

 

A black flag with a golden sun. 

 

Her. 

 

Aleksander pulls away, his eyes following hers. 

 

“Not blue?” she asks, breathless, feeling silly for noticing such a thing when his mouth is all over her, when he is kissing her within an inch of her life. 

 

The Darkling laughs, low and dark, in a way that sends something skittering over Alina’s spine. He reaches up and cups her face in his hand, tilts her gaze back to his. 

 

“No, solnishka,” he says softly, his next kiss gentle and light, “Black. Mine. Ours.” He tells her. 

 

Alina realizes, as she stares into his eyes, that she loves that — theirs. His. 

 

She leans in and kisses him until she is breathless, and his hands — Saints, his hands — move over every inch of her body that he can reach; over her shoulders, down her spine, around her waist, her thighs. He grips them and tugs her closer, pulls her right against him, until the only thing that separates the parts of them that could join are a few layers of fabric and Alina’s own nerves. 

 

He pulls away from her, as if he knows, wants to make sure that what he’s just done has not scared her away. “You’re sure?” He asks, his hand cupping the back of her neck, holding her to him. 

 

Alina smiles. 

 

“Yes,” she breathes, “Yes.” 

 

As if that one word has knocked down the only wall that had stood standing between them, Aleksander’s next kiss is savage, the growl that comes from his throat even more so. He descends upon her in a way she’s only ever dreamt of someone behaving towards her, pulling her close again and rolling his hips into hers, delicious friction causing an ache to blossom even more intensely between her legs. 

 

“Alina,” Aleksander growls, his hands leaving their place around her hips to move to the clasp at the top of her kefta, that first golden button shaped like a sun. “You have no idea, do you? What seeing you in this color has done to me?” 

 

“I have some idea,” Alina laughs, breathless, as he carefully begins to undo the buttons of the kefta, almost reverently. Beneath, she wears a simple black slip and the full black skirt made of the softest, most luxurious fabric she is sure that she’s ever worn in her life. She had intended to enjoy wearing it the rest of the night, but now, she wishes for nothing more than to have all of it off. 

 

Aleksander laughs a little, pressing a soft kiss to her throat. “Moya solnishka, I do not think you do.”

 

He carefully peels the kefta from her shoulders, letting it pool behind her across the table. His mouth finds hers again, and Alina takes her chances on returning the favor — she brushes her fingertips down his throat, towards the intricate buttons on his own coat and beginning to undo them as his hands slide along her legs, find the clasps of her heeled boots and make them clatter to the floor. His hands are warm against her skin as he leads her to lift one knee, his fingertips finding the edge of her skirt and sliding up to wrap around the edge of one stocking and peeling it off, before following with the other. 

 

They part only for Alina to lead him to remove his own kefta, and he rolls it off of his shoulders in a way that looks entirely too controlled before lying it across the table near hers. The sleeves of his black shirt slide up when he reaches up to cup her face once more, and Alina lets herself touch him, feeling the corded strength in his forearms and the tender skin of his wrists as he curls a hand around her neck. 

 

“Alinochka,” Aleksander murmurs, hands moving to her skirt, undoing the ties carefully. “Why must you wear so many clothes?” 

 

Alina finds herself bubbling with laughter, and when she looks at him, the way he smiles at her is tender, almost a little self-satisfied, as if he’s happy to make her laugh like that. He pulls her off the table and lets the skirt pool to the floor, leaving her in only her slip. Aleksander pulls back to look at her, eyes skimming over every curve of her, displayed by the thin fabric. 

 

He sits her back up on the table and leads her to lean back, trailing hot, open-mouthed kisses down her neck, across her collarbone, hovering over the gentle curve of her breast, and Alina watches as his hands slide up her torso and move to cup her through the fabric, thumbs rubbing gently over her hardening nipples. Alina whines. 

 

Aleksander flicks his eyes up to her. “Alina,” he says seriously, “Have you ever been touched before?” 

 

“Yes,” she nods, “But not like this.” 

 

“Not like this?” Aleksander asks, mouth closing over her nipple through the fabric of her slip. “What might that mean?” 

 

“Not —” she tries to speak, tries to give voice to the thoughts running through her head, to tell him that no one has ever bothered with this, with making her feel this undone, so attentive to her every sound and every inch of her skin. She can’t speak though, not with the way he touches her and kisses her, his tongue laving over her pebbled nipple over the thin fabric, how he gently kneads her breasts in his hands, the ache inside of her growing fiery with each passing moment. 

 

“Don’t tell me, Alina,” Aleksander whispers, “That you’ve never been fucked properly.” 

 

“What does properly even entail, because —” 

 

She stops breathing. Stops speaking, stops thinking — because Aleksander growls, lifting her dress up her thighs and peeling it off of her in one swift movement, until she’s almost naked beneath him, save for her very thin undergarments. 

 

“It doesn't matter,” Aleksander whispers, “Because I intend to show you exactly how you should be pleasured, Alina. Lie back.” 

 

She can’t do anything but listen. Alina lets her body rest back on the table, the pieces clattering around her as Aleksander leads her to lift her hips so that he can remove her underwear, letting them drop to the floor with very little ceremony. 

 

“Part your legs for me, Alinochka,” he instructs, eyes flicking up to hers. 

 

He looks... hungry. As if he could eat her alive. 

 

She does as he asks anyway, letting her knees fall apart and baring herself to him even as her pulse quickens impossibly, her breaths coming in short gasps. Aleksander grips her thighs and drags her to the edge of the table, standing between her spread legs and sweeping his eyes over every single inch of her, the fingertips of his right hand following as he drags them over her throat and down her torso, to the spot between her legs. 

 

He brushes one fingertip through her folds, gathering the wetness that she knows is there, and she keens, her back arching and body seeking more of his touch despite however much she doesn’t want to seem so desperate. 

 

“How beautiful you are, solnishka,” Aleksander whispers, dark eyes meeting hers again. There’s a gentle flush on his cheekbones, the only sign that he’s as undone as she is. “And you’re dripping for me.” 

 

Alina watches as he brings his hand to his mouth and licks her arousal from his finger, eyes on hers the whole time. 

 

“Fuck,” she squeaks, the first time she’s cursed like that in what feels like forever. Aleksander smirks, something dark lighting up his eyes as he leans in and presses a soft kiss to her knee. 

 

“You should be worshipped, Alina,” he says, “And trust that I do not mind getting on my knees before you.” 

 

She’s speechless as he does just that — sinks to his knees before her and presses a palm to her thigh to spread her further, his other arm sliding over her hips and pressing her down onto the table. Alina whines, legs trembling as he touches her gently, sliding his fingertips over the shape of her. 

 

“Aleksander,” Alina gasps, hisp twisting in his grip. He only hums, a bored, lazy sound as he softly circles her clit. “Please.” 

 

That sound again comes from his throat, something like a growl, satisfied that she’s resorted to begging for him. He leans in and kisses her, in just the same way that he kissed her lips, deep and hot, his tongue gathering up the taste of her. Pleasure coils in Alina’s belly, her hand flying to his hair to grip something, the other wrapping around his wrist where he holds her down. He doesn’t allow her an inch of motion, doesn’t allow her to squirm away in the way that she almost wants to, unused to this new sensation. 

 

No one has ever done this before, though she’s heard girls in the army and the Grisha in the Little Palace whisper about it, about how magical it can feel. Alina used to think it was overly-romantic, the way they’d talk about their partner kissing them like that, but now...she’s  beginning to understand. She’s boneless and pliant in Aleksander’s hands, beneath his mouth as he sucks her clit between his lips. 

 

Apparently satisfied that she’s not going to move too far, Aleksadner releases his hold on her hips and moves his hands back to her thighs, thumbs pressing into the notches of bone and muscle right where her thighs part, and something about it feels so good, the way her whole body seems connected to the way he licks her and touches her. She can feel it everywhere, can feel that he’s making her even more malleable beneath his hands, parting her further with his thumbs and sliding his tongue inside of her in a way that is equally as pleasurable as it is absolutely obscene, as he pulls her closer and gives her no quarter. 

 

Intoxicating pleasure climbs up Alina’s spine, leaving her shivering and squirming in his hands even as her body seeks more of him, her hips rolling forward and silently asking for even more than Aleksander is giving. Her first orgasm is electric, her legs shaking with it and her mouth gasping his name, the muscles of her stomach contracting as he works her through it. 

 

Aleksander catches her with his hands when she arches her back, nearly sitting up as pleasure zings through her limbs, rushing with heat. He laughs darkly against the skin of her thigh. 

 

“Saints, Aleksander,” Alina gasps, breath leaving her lungs in a rush as she slowly comes down from her high. 

 

“Mmm, Alina,” he hums, one hand moving from her leg to slide a finger inside of her. “That was beautiful.” 

 

She whines. “Please,” Alina finds herself saying. She wants him closer, wants his mouth back on hers. Wants his body against her. 

 

“Not yet, Alinochka. I think I can make you even more ready for me.” 

 

Alina wonders if anyone has ever died from too much pleasure, and if not, she might very well be the first one. 

 

Aleksander slides another finger inside of her, crooking them up until he presses against a place that she’s never been able to reach, to find during all of her fumbling, nervous explorations with herself or others. He finds it so quickly, as if he’s studied her body without her realizing. His fingers are longer and much larger than hers, and there’s the hint of a stretch as he works them inside of her, but with how wet and pliant she is, it’s easier than it’s ever been. And there’s no uncomfortable drag, no awkward pinch as he stretches her, like there has been with her few partners before. 

 

This, the way he touches her, is almost unbearably luxurious. Then his tongue is back on her clit, and the sound that Alina makes is almost a cry. Her hands fly down to tangle back up in his dark hair, already mused from how she’s pulled it. Each press of his hands feels better and better, and this time when her orgasm starts to coil in her belly, it brings with it a numbing feeling in her legs that she’s never felt before. 

 

“That’s it, Alinochka,” Aleksander says softly, almost reverently, “Cum around my fingers. Show me how you fall apart just for me, moya solnishka.” 

 

She does exactly as he asks, because, how could she not? Not when he’s touching her so perfectly, his tongue flicking on her clit and his hands playing her as if she’s nothing more than an instrument he’s spent his life studying. 

 

Alina can hardly breathe, is reduced to nothing more than a thundering heartbeat and a mess of nerves as Aleksander rises to his feet and smirks at her. His mouth is red, that closely-cropped beard still wet with her. He slides his hands up Alina’s torso, around to her spine and in one swift movement, hauls her up against him.

“I cannot wait to feel you cum like that when I’m finally inside of you, Alina,” Aleksander tells her, pressing a gentle kiss to her temple. Alina grips his shirt in her hands and pulls his mouth down to hers with no preamble, a shiver skittering down her spine as she tastes herself on his tongue. She’s ravenous, her body simultaneously wound up and pliant after two orgasms, but she still wants him. Wants him so desperately that she thinks she’ll die if she doesn’t get to have him soon, if she doesn’t get to learn what it feels like when he’s against her. 

 

In a fit of bravery, Alina detaches her mouth from his and kisses along his jaw, down his neck, where she can feel his heart beating rapidly beneath his pulse. She licks it, tastes his skin and pulls him closer. 

 

He growls her name, gripping her hair and wrenching her back suddenly to look at her, and Alina is struck with the sudden realization that Aleksander, her Aleksander, is not just a boy, or even a normal man that simply wants her. He is the most feared being in Ravka, a general and unforgiving commander, and she is vastly unprepared for what his full attention truly entails. To be taken by him is going to be like nothing she has ever felt before, and probably will ever feel again. 

 

“There is time, Alinochka,” Aleksander says, nuzzling her cheek with his nose. “I don’t intend to push you. I have waited a long time for you; I can wait longer, if you need it.” 

 

Alina finds herself shaking her head. He feels it, and with a sound that reminds her almost of a pained groan, Aleksander looks at her as she tightens her legs around his hips and pulls him in, feeling the evidence of just how much he wants her, despite his sweet words. 

 

“I want you, Aleksander,” Alina says, her hand pressed to his chest to feel his heartbeat nearly as rapid as hers. 

 

“Say it again,” he asks, an arm sliding around her waist to press her closer, to grind against her. Alina whimpers. 

 

“I want you,” she tells him once more, clinging to him as he lifts her up, an arm around her back and the other hooked around her thigh. “I want you so much I can hardly breathe.” 

 

Aleksander’s eyes drop closed as he takes in her words, as he breathes her in, his lips inches from hers. “You don’t know, Alina, how long I have wished to hear you say that.” 

 

He walks them into the bedroom, the very place where Alina had helped him into his kefta this morning, the one that she has just taken off. That thought brings her a strange, perverse sort of satisfaction. 

 

In the darkness of his room, Alina feels entirely his, consumed and hidden away in a way that is only for them, cocooned in want that only exists between them and leaves the rest of the world to fall away. He sets her down gently on the soft bed, stepping away only to lift his shirt over his head and drop it somewhere to the floor. 

 

Alina reaches out a hand and brushes her fingertips along his skin, marveling at its warmth and the muscle beneath it, the strength there. Aleksander kicks off his boots and Alina squeaks in surprise when he joins her on the bed, crawling over her and pressing kisses back up her body, their mouths meeting as she backs up and brings shaking hands to the fastenings of his trousers. His hands begin to work at the knots of her hair, gently removing pins and clips and tossing them away until she practically groans in happiness as the tresses fall down her back. 

 

“Perfect,” Aleksander mutters, looking down at her with a look in his eyes that reminds her of the way he’s stared at her tonight, when she lit up the room with her power. “You are perfect, my Alina.” 

 

My Alina. 

 

She tugs him closer, their mouths meeting as Alina carefully undoes the ties of his trousers, until she can slip her hand beneath them and wrap her fingers around him. He gasps against her mouth, the most beautiful sound she has ever had the pleasure of hearing, and Alina feels suddenly so powerful — here is the most powerful man in Ravka, undone by her hands. Hers. 

 

“Do not tease me, Alina,” Aleksander says, his fingertips closing around her throat in a way that is both a taunt and at the same time dangerously possessive, as Alina is struck with the knowledge that he could hurt her, if he chose to. Unlike all the other boys before him, ones that would stop when she said stop, that she could easily land a punch on if she felt like it. Aleksander, though? He could hurt her and she would never see it coming. 

 

Instead of fear, Alina feels a distinct sort of thrill shoot through her at the thought, at the understanding that she is matched, that he is another half of her with a power so ancient, the dark where she is light. And despite that, Alina knows that her light calls to him, in the same way that his shadows call to her. Ask her to accept power when it is offered, to take it even when it is not. 

 

She tightens her hand around him, swiping her thumb over the tip of his cock and pulling her hand away to lick the taste of him from her skin. Aleksander watches her with those dark eyes, his hand still poised around her throat. “Miss Starkov,” he whispers, breathless, staring at her with hunger that she has only heard of in stories, “You are full of surprises.” 

 

Alina smiles. “I’d like to be full of you,” she tells him, delighting in the way that he laughs, the way a smile flits across his handsome face. He leans up on an arm, held above her, and Alina can see all of him even in the dim light of the moon streaming into the chamber. He is beautiful. 

 

She trails her fingers over the front of his trousers, over the shape of him, feeling just how large he is. Aleksander lets out a sound that is suspiciously like a whimper as she experimentally squeezes him, sitting up against him and letting her hand fall from its place in his hair to trail down his chest, to feel his heartbeat against her fingertips. She squeezes again. 

 

“You wish to have me beg, then, milaya?” Aleksander asks, his mouth inches from hers. She leans up just enough to press a gentle kiss to his mouth. 

 

“Would you?” She asks, “Beg? If I wanted you to?” 

 

The Darkling laughs. “Alina, have I not already worshipped you on my knees? Anything you ask, I will give it, solnishka,” he releases her throat only to press kisses to it, to drag his teeth along her pulse and behind her ear until she shivers. “What is it you wish for, Alinochka? Power? Devotion? It will be yours.” 

 

“None of that,” Alina gasps, letting go of him only to grasp his jaw in her hands and force him to meet her gaze, to bring him closer. “You. I want you.” 

 

“Have me, then, Sankta Alina.” 

 

Their mouths meet once more in a way that is no longer soft and sweet; it is instead with trembling intensity, their tongues sliding together and seeking more more more, Alina’s hands doing the same as she leads Aleksander to remove his trousers, watching through half open eyes as they slide off of his hips and reveal the part of him that she wants more than anything in this moment. 

 

Her confidence falters momentarily when she truly looks at him, when he leans above her and suddenly seems much more menacing than he had moments ago, and Alina finds herself feeling small against him; wonders if he will overtake her completely. 

 

“Alina,” Aleksander whispers, “Look at me, moya lyubov'.” 

 

Her breath catches. 

 

My love. 

 

She does as he asked though, and brings her eyes up to meet his. 

 

“I will try to be gentle,” Aleksander tells her, thumb brushing over her cheekbone. “I promise.” 

 

She nods. 

 

Aleksander slides an arm beneath her back and lifts her, shifting them until she is splayed out on the bed completely, cradled by soft black fabric and he is kneeling before her, hands kneading her thighs. She parts them for him, allows him to settle closer, to tilt her hips up and slide his cock through her folds, gathering her wetness until it coats him. Alina’s heartbeat is deafening in her ears. 

 

“Watch, Alina,” Aleksander growls, and her eyes flutter open and she does watch — watches as he slides inside of her, as they join together in a way that Alina somehow feels can never be undone, now. 

 

“Oh,” she gasps, her body already contracting, bracing for this new feeling, this new impact as he slides deeper inside of her. 

 

Aleksander lets out a soft huff of laughter, one hand leaving her hip to instead splay across her torso, thumb rubbing soft circles on her clit. “Relax,” he whispers, “Open for me, solnishka. Let me have you.” 

 

Alina’s entire body goes warm, from the tips of her toes to her ears, her fingertips — she feels him everywhere. He is impossibly deep inside of her, impossibly large, and she swears she feels him in her spine, in her throat, so full that it takes her breath away. His thumb circles her clit and suddenly there’s unbearable warmth in her stomach, emphasized by the drag of his cock inside of her, even as he stays, unmoving, as her body adjusts. It coils right where she can feel him, right where her body won’t allow him any deeper, and Alina feels tears prick at her eyes as her pleasure overwhelms her. The moment she begins to cum, Aleksander presses down over her stomach, a wicked little smirk on his face that Alina catches right before her vision seems to swim. 

 

He doesn’t let her come down, this time; doesn’t let her ride out the orgasm and regain control of her limbs — he moves inside her instead, slow at first, and Alina hates that he was right to give her that, knows that he’s succeeded in making her just as pliant as he had with those two orgasms before. He’s ruining her, making her a perfect fit only for him, and she can hardly blame him for it. Can’t even say that it isn’t exactly what she wants — it is. 

 

“Good girl, Alina,” Aleksander grits out, his lip between his teeth as he moves inside of her, leaning down to grip her hair in his hand. “Look at you, taking me so beautifully.” 

 

Alina kisses him, as if she could devour him in the same way that he’s doing to her. 

 

“You were made for me, solnishka,” Aleksander whispers against her lips as he pulls her closer, as she lifts her knees to allow him to take her deeper, to give him all of her in a way she’s never given to anyone before, and never will again. 

 

“Sasha,” she doesn’t know what makes her say it. Perhaps the tears that are gathering her eyes are the remnants of any sane thought and are leaving only any iteration of his name, of him in her mind, consuming her every thought. 

 

His hips stutter and pause, and Alina’s eyes fly open, studying the open emotion on his face that looks a little like adoration, and a little more like she’s plucked something vital from him, as if she’s pulled his feet right out from under him. 

 

“Fuck,” he grits, hips rolling into hers again. “ Fucking — Saints, Alina — damn it —” 

 

She gasps as his pace increases, as he tightens his hand in her hair and uses her body as leverage for the punishing thrusts he bestows upon her, the place he hits inside of her twisting pleasure into the edge of sweet, delicious pain. Alina cries, her nails clawing along his back as he fucks her; fucks every single thought from her head but ones of him. 

 

Just when she thinks it can’t be physically possible to cum again, to cum like this — one tweak of her nipple between his fingers and Alina tumbles over the edge of a steep cliff, her legs going numb all the way to her toes and back arching against him. 

 

“Aleksander,” she cries, uncaring of how loud she must be in this moment, “Aleksander, Aleksander, Sasha, please —” 

 

“Do you feel that, Alina?” He asks, tugging her head up and forcing her tear-filled eyes to find his, “Do you feel how deep I am inside of you? How your cunt is pulsing around me? Feel how you were made to fit me?” 

 

Alina nods — she can’t speak words, anyway. 

 

“Say it,” Aleksander growls, biting her collarbone. 

 

“Yes,” Alina gasps, “Yours. I’m yours. I was made for you.” 

 

It is the only truth that Alina has ever not second-guessed. How could she, when all signs point to it? He is her perfect opposite, her darkness, her answer — of course she was made for him. He was made for her in the same way. 

 

Aleksander lets her go abruptly, and there’s a little twinge of pain in her skull when he releases her hair and lets her fall back, pulls out of her only to twist her body and position her on her side. This is new — she’s never done this in any way other than with someone above her. She’s heard whispers of other ways, of course, some more illicit than others, and a brief moment of panic goes through her when she realizes she doesn’t have any idea what to do — 

 

“Trust me,” Aleksander whispers, his voice tender and soft when he presses his chest to her back and brings her hips towards him, sliding inside of her in one smooth motion that knocks the breath from her lungs. This is somehow more intimate, the way that he holds her close as he fucks her slowly, one hand curled across her body and gripping her jaw, tilting her face towards his.

 

“Tell me how it feels, Alina,” he demands, his other hand squeezing gently at her breast until she whines. 

 

“So —” she starts to gasp, starts to say good, but it would be such a terrible lie. It is more than good. She doesn’t have the word for it, for what she feels in this moment as he takes her, reshapes her to fit him and ravishes her in a way that feels indecent and beautiful. “Wonderful.” 

 

She settles for that, because she can think of nothing better. 

 

Aleksander laughs a little, his teeth tugging at her earlobe. “You do feel wonderful, solnishka. So tight around me, so perfect.” 

 

Alina lets her body sink back into his, lets him press her into the mattress until there’s nowhere else for either of them to go, until she can hardly breathe. Can’t escape him even if she wished to; and she certainly doesn’t.

 

“Can you cum for me once more, Alina? One more time, I want to feel it,” Aleksander says, and Alina shakes her head — there’s no way — 

 

But of course, no is not a term that exists in Aleksander’s vocabulary. 

 

He lets go of her jaw even as he kisses her, slides his hand down her body and presses his fingers to her oversensitive flesh, rolling gently until she whines. The heel of his palm presses against her stomach, right over that same spot he had pressed before to make her cum, to make her see stars behind her eyes — he does it again, and Alina shatters into a million pieces, becomes nothing more than starlight and shadow. 

 

His pace grows uneven as he chases the same high, uses her body to find it and Alina finds that she doesn’t mind even a little bit; she would let him have her in whatever way he pleases, as long as he returns the favor. 

 

“Sasha,” Alina whispers, tears sliding down her face as she reaches back and brushes her fingertips along his jaw. “Cum for me. Cum inside me.” 

 

Words fall from his parted lips that Alina thinks must be old, old Ravkan, because she doesn’t understand a single one — well, except for something she thinks roughly translates to my light. 

 

He does as she’s asked, and if she were in a right mind she might relish a little more in having ordered the infamous Darkling around, but she knows that her words had little to do with it. The aftershocks of pleasure skitter up her spine as he cums inside of her, clutching her close, lips brushing hers as they both gasp for air that seems to be deliberately running from them. 

 

“Alina,” Aleksander whimpers, says her name as if she’s thoroughly wrecked him, as if she truly has undone him the way he has her. She feels his heartbeat against her back, hears her blood rushing in her ears and just barely registers that her limbs seem boneless, that she is made of nothing more than pleasure as he holds her, buries his face in the junction of her shoulder and kisses her skin softly. 

 

The night falls around them like a blanket, quiet and dark, and Alina is dimly aware of how loud they had been once all that remains is their breathing. Saints, the guards outside the door must have heard everything — 

 

As if Aleksander senses that her thoughts are wandering, he strokes his fingertips along her stomach, making her shiver and burrow closer to him, leaning back into his warmth, into this man made of shadows and dreams that she has never voiced. He chuckles a little, the sound pleasant and deep. 

 

“My Alina,” he whispers, another kiss pressed to her shoulder. “Stay.” 

 

“I’m not going anywhere, Aleksander,” Alina assures him, reaching back to thread his dark hair. 

 

“No, promise to stay,” he says quietly, face still hidden against her skin. “Stay with me.” 

 

She doesn’t know what he means, but it hardly matters in this moment — her answer would be the same no matter what. “I’ll stay.”