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Alina tries not to regret her decisions. 

 

She tries, especially now, to think things through before she makes a choice, lest the people who look at her, who watch her every move, have time to consider she might be making the wrong one. And yet — 

 

And yet, she is still human. She still makes choices and regrets them. She still tries — Saints, does she try — to do good. To be good. 

 

But being on the run, avoiding the Grisha who follow so closely, who always seem barely a step behind — it’s exhausting. She’s tired. She’s liable to make decisions based on comfort and not on any kind of logic. 

 

Which is why, she rationalizes, she starts telling Mal not two beds, just get one when they change inns. Why she starts leaning closer to him on the road. For that achingly familiar comfort; waiting for that sunshine-feeling to return that she felt before the Little Palace, before him, to return. Waiting for that soft affection she used to feel, with Mal. Waiting for her old self to come back and to feel the way she felt before — 

 

But she doesn’t. It’s not there. 

 

She wants to use her power all the time. Wants to burst with the sun that lives in her veins and wants to cover the whole world with light, because it hurts not to use it. It hurts to let it lie dormant, and she’s begun to get sick again, without it. Begun to cough and feel achy and weak, and that too, is why she seeks comfort in Mal. Seeks his warmth in the middle of the night and wakes up entwined with him, but it’s never right. His scent is all wrong, his eyes the wrong color, his face — though handsome — is not the one she wants to see when she turns over in the middle of the night. 

 

And she hates it. Hates that he is not what she wants, even though she thought he was all she ever wanted. 

 

Hates that there are actual tears in her eyes when he kisses her, hot behind her closed eyelids; hates that it doesn’t feel right, that he doesn’t have a beard and it doesn’t feel right. But she lets him anyway, because she’s aching and tired and she just wants some damn affection. Just wants to feel something other than cold in the wretched winter, the horrible, awful chill that’s been settling into her bones and makes her creaky and cranky. 

 

Once, she’d thought that maybe this would be the moment that Mal had learned of her power — that it would burst from her with the ache of waiting, with the release of finally having what she wanted. Yet, nothing happens. Nothing at all. Feels — kind of good, a little bit. Feels better than cold and chill and the constant sadness, the constant sickness. 

 

But it’s awkward. It’s halting, quiet, and Alina doesn’t feel the sunlight, doesn’t feel the shock that she expects, doesn’t feel the pleasure that she wants when he kisses her, pleasure that she knows she’d have if it were someone else. If it were him. 

 

And when he takes what she’s never given to anyone, it feels wrong.

 

Mal’s mouth is too wet, too heavy on her skin and at the same time too soft, none of the heat that she wants or that she craves; none of the possession that she wants to feel coiling in her belly, the roughness of being owned. No, he’s too gentle with her, too careful and at one point in time, she would have thought it was sweet, that it was attentive. Now it’s just suffocating, the way he rocks against her slowly, gently, and yet she doesn’t feel precious. She just feels impatient. Feels annoyed. 

 

Doesn’t cum, because of course she doesn’t. Isn’t that just the fucking icing on the cake. 

 

Mal kisses her sweetly and then rolls off of her, quiet, stroking her cheek and she tries to smile, tries so hard to make it look genuine, and hates that it doesn’t feel that way. 

 

He’s asleep a few minutes later, an arm around her shoulders and snoring softly, and Alina carefully rolls herself out from under his grip and turns towards the wall — considers putting a hand between her legs and just figuring it out herself. Touching herself finding just a little bit of pleasure amidst all this grey coldness. Doesn’t end up getting the chance, because when she opens her eyes to look at the wall - or what she thinks is the wall - she realizes promptly that it is not the wall. 

 

Wonders for a moment if she’s dreaming, if she’s fallen into some sort of alternative reality where her daydreams are so tangible in front of her, enough that it almost seems real enough to taste. 

 

Is not looking at the wall. 

 

Is looking, instead, at the interior of the Darkling’s bedroom. Dark green walls and dark black sheets, and she can nearly taste that air, the scent of the tea that she knows is usually sitting on his dresser. 

 

Is startled by it for a moment, until her eyes catch the source of a sudden noise, and then she’s startled in an entirely different way. 

 

The sight of him is out of her nightmares - if nightmares could be considered daydreams - and Alina’s mouth goes dry, her hand tugging the sheets up over her bare breasts as she watches what he’s doing. Takes her a moment to understand, at first. To comprehend that there’s another person below him, that his right hand is wrapped in a fist through dark hair and that his other is gripping a waist so hard there must be indents in the skin. 

 

Takes her a moment to understand that he is fucking someone - a woman, she thinks, someone with dark black hair and she can’t see her face, couldn’t even begin to guess if it’s someone she knows or has seen. Is just enraptured by the angry edge of pleasure of his face, the curve of his mouth and the pull of his brows, the flush on his chest. Lets her eyes wander down and find the other parts of him, the strong legs and his ass, cut hips and his cock - disappearing inside someone who is not her. 

 

Makes the mistake of gasping when he growls, shifts and leans forward a little, thrusting harder - 

 

And his pace barely stutters when his head whips to the side, finds her watching. The slow smile that spreads over his face is infuriating. Terrifying. 

 

But Alina’s eyes are glued, stuck to the sight of him, the way he’s so in control, the way he’s precise in his every movement, how lethal each stroke is. How his lips pull back over his teeth as he watches her watch him, and Alina knows that she should look away, that she should break this strange connection between them - but she can’t. Can barely blink, let alone close her eyes and stop watching. 

 

“If you want to cum,” the Darkling growls, the pace of his hips slowing, and if Alina didn’t know better, she’d think he was doing it for show - “you’ll touch yourself.” 

 

Alina knows that he must not be talking to her - but doesn’t really know, actually, because he’s staring straight at her, eyes following the movement of her hand as she lets go of the blanket and slides it down, nearly unaware that there’s a person sleeping beside her. A person she is supposed to want. A person she loves. 

 

Lets the blankets fall away and reveal her body, naked and now too warm, to his gaze. Slips her hand between her legs and hates that she can feel Mal’s cum leaking from her cunt, that it’s not his. 

 

Not the Darkling’s - strange, that she feels it should be. 

 

Slides her fingers against her clit and nearly whimpers, because she needed that - needs the pressure, the precision of her own fingers. 

 

“Slowly,” he growls, and Alina - 

 

Alina just obeys. 

 

Circles her clit carefully, touches gently -

 

“Harder.”

 

Obeys that, too. Gets herself to the edge within minutes, watching him fuck someone else, near-feral with her frustration and how much she hates the sight of that, wishes that it were her he was splitting apart like that. 

 

“You want to be filled with my cum, don’t you?” 

 

Can’t be talking to her - this is a dream - not real -

 

“You want to be so full of me you can’t breathe? Want me to split your little cunt in half and break you apart on my cock?” 

 

The girl beneath him moans. “Yes -“

 

“Shut up,” Aleksander growls, his arm jerking to press her face into the mattress, eyes still on Alina. 

 

Alina, who is burning so hot she feels like she’s stepped into the desert sun - if she knew what that felt like - and feels like she’s being eaten alive. Her whole body turning inside-out with pleasure and want and lust that weighs heavy on her tongue. 

 

Aleksander’s eyes flutter closed a little, his hand leaving the girl’s waist to curl into a fist, biting at his hand to keep from speaking, perhaps. To keep from cumming. 

 

Alina has just enough awareness to stay quiet when her orgasm starts to rush over her, hot and quiet and vicious. 

 

“Alina.”

 

He grounds out her name and Alina slaps a hand over her mouth, tries to keep from screaming when she cums all over her fingers, toes curling with pleasure and her heart beating hard in her chest. 

 

Aleksander moves - pulls away from the woman and then his cock is in his hand, and Alina is watching him cum all over someone else’s skin, and wants to die a little. 

 

It’s a beautiful thing to watch - him, trembling with pleasure, his hand wrapped around his cock and somehow the sight still drips elegance, with the usual grace with which he does everything. None of the ridiculous, frantic rutting of the boys in the army, that she’d walked in in countless times. Not even what she knows now, lackluster and awkward. None of that confusion or self-consciousness; no, Aleksander is devastating beautiful like this, his dark eyes flickering up to hers, his whole body tightening as he cums and Alina wants to touch, wants to feel how he’s shivering like that. 

 

For a few quiet moments, Alina is frozen in shock, stillness - unsure of how this happened or is happening and waiting for the regret to set in, the acute heat of embarrassment.

 

The woman beneath Aleksander moves, sits up, and Alina watches him press a kiss to her shoulder, like a thank you. Notices when she turns her head -

 

“You said her name,” The woman says, and it sounds almost sad. Alina recognizes her. A Grisha a few years older than her, a woman who was always nice to her. She can’t place her name. 

 

“I know what I said,” The Darkling states, “Get out.”  

 

The woman moves, and Alina is kind of fascinated by the way she seems so unperturbed but the command, by the fact that she’s being dismissed. Is gone from the room a few moments later and Alina is still staring at him where he’s kneeling on the bed, still looking at her. 

 

Unfair, that he looks that way. Unfair that he’s so beautiful. 

 

He climbs off the bed and Alina has an eyeful of him, all of him, as he walks to the chair in the corner of the room and sits, lounges back and looks at her. 

 

“Well, darling Alina,” he begins to say, one hand folded beneath his chin, “It seems we were both in need of some extra stimulation.” 

 

She wants to bare her teeth at him. Wants to tell him to fuck himself, to turn over and cuddle up to Mal just to make him jealous. Doesn’t though, because she’s shocked still, looking at him, an image from her darkest fantasies, sitting like that and staring at her. 

 

Alina forces herself to shut her eyes, to avoid his gaze, hoping that if she keeps them shut for a moment he’ll disappear. She’s not that lucky. 

 

“Tell me where you are, Alina,” Aleksander says softly, whispers, like he’s talking to a lover. She shakes her head. Doesn’t think that Mal can hear him, but would definitely hear her if she spoke. “Tell me where you are and it could be you in that bed.” 

 

Aleksander tilts his head, gestures to the black linens and four poster, certainly nicer than the wooden slab she’s laying on. 

 

“What makes you think I want that, Darkling?” Alina asks, the words quiet and hissed, barely heard above the sounds of life outside the room. But he hears them, of course he hears them, because this connection between them creates a vacuum that exists only for them. Aleksander smirks a little, looks down his nose at her and makes a little face, his mouth tilting down. 

 

“The fact that you came for me when I asked you to,” he says, “And it was so lovely, Alina. And I so badly want to see you cum like that on my cock. On my fingers. On my tongue, certainly.” 

 

Alina can’t help that heat blossoms in her stomach, that that ache that’s been lingering, a yawning pit, only seems to open wider. Only seems to get deeper. Can’t help that her cunt aches, empty and unsatisfied, at the thought of that wicked tongue or his long fingers, of his cock. 

 

“You could come here right now,” Aleksander whispers, “And I’ll give you everything. Anything you ask for, anything you want, Alina. I’ll fill you in ways you can’t put words to.” 

 

He cocks his head at her, watches her trembling legs as she fights to keep them together, even as she wants so desperately to put her hand between them and touch herself, to find even a little bit of that fullness he’s speaking of. 

 

“So quiet tonight, Alinochka.” Aleksander says, shaking his head a little. “Is it because your little friend is lying next to you? Such a reputation your tracker has, and yet - you’re so unsatisfied that you came for me yourself. Those little fingers; not so good, are they, Alina? Wouldn’t you prefer mine?” 

 

The Darkling holds up his hand, examining his long fingers and forcing Alina to do the same, her own hand clenching into a fist because - Saints, his hands are so much bigger, would feel so much better. Has had hundreds of years to learn how to make a person cum. Thinks, unwillingly, about how large they’d feel inside of her and how full she would feel, how he could reach places inside of her with ease that she’s never even felt in her own explorations. 

 

Thinks she’d let him put those hands anywhere — her mouth and her hair and her cunt, all over her body until she’s stained with shadows and his touch feels like a permanent affliction. 

 

“Spread your legs, Alina,” Aleksander demands, and she does. Alina lets her knees fall apart and reveals herself to his eyes, eyes that feel so much like a brand even a million worlds away. Hundreds of miles between them now, she thinks, and yet — and yet. This is real. He is real. 

 

The only thing that has ever been real is them, and him, and the power in her veins that shudders just beneath her skin. 

 

His eyes finally leave her face, slide down to her cunt and Alina resists the urge to close her legs, to hide away from him. He looks relaxed, but Alina sees anger flash in his eyes. 

 

“How many times?” He asks. 

 

Alina shakes her head, confused. 

 

“How many times has your little tracker made you cum?” 

 

Her face heats to the point of pain, and he knows just from looking at her what the answer is. None. 

 

“And how many times have you let him in that pretty little cunt?” 

 

“Three,” Alina whispers, because she can’t lie to him now, can’t not answer. Doesn’t know how angrily he might respond to that, if she denies him what he wants to know. 

 

“Three,” Aleksander repeats, almost mocking. She nods. He nods along with her. 

 

She hates when he does that — can’t figure out why it makes her so warm. 

 

“Hand, Alina. Play with your clit.” 

 

Has never actually obeyed an order so fast in her life. Dips her hand down between her legs and circles her clit, tries to build a rhythm past the stuttering in her chest, past her uneven heartbeat. He watches, dark eyes following every movement as her toes curl, body flushed with the knowledge that he’s watching her do his, studying her like she’s something to be pulled apart and analyzed. 

 

“Very pretty, little saint,” Aleksander says quietly, shifting in his chair to lean his head on his hand, watching her as leisurely as someone might watch a fire. Might read. Relaxed and familiar, and she laments that it kind of sets her at ease. “Tell me something, Alina.”

 

She waits to hear what he wants to know, pressing a little harder against her clit. 

 

“The night of the fete,” he says, his eyebrow raising almost imperceptibly, “Would you have let me fuck you on that table? On the map of our people, whose lives are in our hands? Would you have let me make you cum all over my cock?” 

 

Alina presses her hand over her mouth to keep from making a sound, to keep from whining or whimpering or saying his name. Nods instead, because it’s the truth. She would have. 

 

Would have let him take what she offered instead to someone who didn’t deserve it, didn’t cherish it nearly as much as she thinks Aleksander would. Would probably have been annoyingly brutish about it, to know that he was the first she’d ever had. 

 

She wonders if it matters that he wasn’t her first, if he plans to make himself her last. 

 

“Instead,” The Darkling says, his voice smooth and cool, “Instead you spread your lovely legs for that fool. Tell me, Alina, do you think that he knew? Do you think that he knew you thought of me the whole time?” 

 

She gasps behind her hand. “You don’t — you don’t even know that —“

 

“Don’t I?” He asks, clicking his tongue at her when she circles her fingers faster, shaking his head a little. “I think you’re quite wet now, milaya. Let me see you touch yourself, now.” 

 

Really should tell him no. Should turn away and not play this dangerous game with him, should not allow him what he’s asking. But she does — Alina lets her hand slip down, fingers teasing at her entrance and Aleksander makes a sound, some low growl in his chest that makes Alina’s toes curl. She drags her fingertips through the wetness, uses it as lubrication when she presses the tip of her finger inside and bites back a sigh. 

 

“Good girl,” he says, voice low. When Alina manages to refocus her eyes, she has to bite down on her lip to keep from making a sound. He’s sitting across from her, still gloriously naked, and now his cock is in his hand, stroking leisurely, and Alina doesn’t understand how he gets to look like that, why, at best, male anatomy is kind of strange but — Saints, his is beautiful. 

 

Long and thick and red at the tip, and Alina finds herself wondering if it would be warm, if she pressed a kiss to it. What his skin would taste like. If she could get her hand around him, or her mouth. Doesn’t think she’d be able to. And he’d never fit inside her — there’s no chance —

 

He’s smiling at her, amused by her wandering eyes. 

 

“One finger to start, I think, little saint.” 

 

Slides her middle finger into her cunt and the motion is so easy, there’s no pinch or drag and it feels good. Feels so good when she presses up gently, searching for that spot she’s never really been able to find, presses the heel of her palm against her clit. 

 

Aleksander’s lips quirk up, his hand tightening around his cock. 

 

“A little more forward, malyshka,” he says, “The thing you’re looking for. Not so deep — about there.” 

 

She follows the instruction, however vague it is, and the pad of her finger presses against something that makes her toes curl. The Darkling’s smirk goes wider. 

 

“Two, now,” he demands, and so she adds another finger — and the fit is tighter now, edging on uncomfortable, as her other hand comes down to play with her clit, her lip trapped between her teeth to keep from making noise. Is careful not to press too deep, to move her fingers slowly, in a way that feels good. 

 

Aleksander’s hand around his cock is slower than the motions she makes, languid and easy, though she can see that the muscles in his stomach are beginning to tighten, and he’s dropped his other hand to the armrest. Long fingers dangling off the edge. Looks perfectly debauched and hungry, looks like a dream sitting before her like that, watching her, aroused by her. 

 

“How many can you take, Alina, before it’s too much?” Aleksander asks, and his voice is a little bit breathier now. “Three?” 

 

She tries — shakes her head. A little too tight. 

 

Aleksander’s answering chuckle is dark and mean, makes her shiver. 

 

“Two of those little fingers and you’re already full, little saint? I think I’ll have quite a good time breaking you.” 

 

Alina whines a little, her heart jumping to her throat when she hears Mal shift — fuck, she’s completely forgotten she’s not alone — but he settles a moment later, and Alina feels like she’s on fire. Feels like she’s going to burst into flames if she doesn’t cum now. 

 

Aleksander doesn’t seem very perturbed by the obvious anxiety she feels with another person in her room — instead, he looks almost mischievous. Looks triumphant. Looks like he did when he was over that woman in his bed, his eyes downturned and dark and watching her intently, chest rising and falling and she wants to be against him, wants to be on her knees at his feet and have him teach her how to make him cum the way he can do it himself. Wants to taste him on her tongue and wants to cum, wants to cum so badly. 

 

“Show me, Alinochka,” The Darkling says, voice tight with pleasure. “Show me how you’ll cum with my fingers inside of you, with my tongue on you. Show me how you’re going to cum around my cock when I fuck you open, the way you deserve.” 

 

Has to squeeze her eyes shut when she cums, breath held, trying not to gasp as sensation floods her body, makes her thighs tremble and makes every part of her warm. Makes her cunt pulse and flutter, her body breaking out in a flush. 

 

Watch, Alina,” Aleksander demands then, and she does — watches as he cums, thick ropes of it spilling over his fist and she so desperately wants to taste it, wants to feel it on her skin, inside of her. 

 

Her blood rushes in her ears. 

 

“Gonna fuck you full of my cum soon, little saint, and you won’t remember the feeling of anything but me.” Aleksander says, his dark eyes meeting hers. Alina can’t seem to catch her breath. 

 

The air around them starts to shimmer, to change. 

 

Whispers to him. Tells him where to find her. 

 

 

 

 

 

When Alina wakes the next morning and she and Mal are eating breakfast downstairs at the inn, her thoroughly avoiding his every gaze and question and bit of conversation, she doesn’t even feign acting surprised when the Grisha show up. Doesn’t fight. Figures it was inevitable, that he’d catch her anyway, what was one more day ahead of them? 

 

Puts away her pride and gets into the back of the carriage with Fedyor, who smiles almost apologetically. 

 

She sleeps the whole way to the Little Palace. 

 

Doesn’t see Mal, and of course she should feel worse about that, should feel terrible for whatever fate is due to him — but knows that she has a key to Aleksander, and he won’t harm him. Too proud to do so, she thinks. 

 

Will let time do it for him. 

 

And will let time teach her to relax in his bed instead of worrying over Mal. 

 

Part of her hates it — hates the idea that she’s given up, that she has given in. The other is so tired of having to play this game. Thinks there has to be a way that the sun saint and the starless can work together, isn’t there? 

 

Bathes and dresses and eats a good, hot meal for the first time in weeks. 

 

The sun has just gone down out her window when the knock sounds on the door. 

 

Fedyor walks her through the halls, chattering along as she follows him, though she could make her way in the dark, she thinks. Doesn’t need guidance to get where she’s going, because she can feel the dull hum of his power, the pull of it. Magnetic, or perhaps like a beacon. Comforting and trawling along her spine like some slinking cat, curling against her to welcome her home. 

 

The door is open, and Fedyor lets her inside. 

 

Shuts it. 

 

Aleksander is standing by the fire, his back to her. 

 

His hair has grown a little longer since they last saw each other in person, though it was hardly a thing she noticed last night. His black kefta is draped over the chair near the fire, his hands clasped behind his back, and he turns her head a little bit when she steps in. 

 

“Welcome home, Miss Starkov,” he says, a mocking imitation of that same phrase the day she’d arrived, and she remembers being filled with warmth and excitement. Now, she isn’t sure how to puzzle out the feeling inside her. 

 

“Such a lovely cage,” Alina says sarcastically, sitting herself down in one of the chairs near the fire, and she sees his mouth quirk up in a smile. 

 

“Do me a small favor, Alina,” he says, and she raises an eyebrow, “Give me one night. Then tomorrow, you can scream at me; I will answer every question; I promise you, we will talk. But I do not want to talk, tonight.” 

 

Alina blinks, tries to summon some anger at him for this presumptuousness, that she’ll sleep with him — “Don’t you have any other woman you could bring to your bed, Darkling? I’ve been traveling all day, and I’m exhausted —“

 

Gets his hand on her arm the minute she stands, pulls her back into his chest and doesn’t let her move, fingers curling around the stag collar at her neck. “As if I could ever be satisfied with anyone who is not you, solnyshko,” he says softly, so sweetly that it curls her toes a little, that teasing lie. 

 

“As if I don’t see you every time I cum, little saint,” Aleksander continues, his hand sliding to the back of her dress, loosening the laces. “As if it’s not your name the palace is now used to hearing.” 

 

Feels her cheeks heat at the implication that everyone might know — might know how he wants her. 

 

Is terrified for them all to know how she wants him. 

 

Doesn’t protest when he undoes the lacing on her dress and slides it off her shoulders, lets it pool to the floor in a mess of gold and black, undoes her skirt next, and she just lets him — lets him press kisses to the back of her neck, staring at the fire as he undresses her, wondering why the fluttering in her stomach is not from fear but from excitement. 

 

Lets her corset fall away and then he’s turning her, hands on her arms, that heavy metal ring digging into her skin when he reaches up and wraps his fingers around her throat. 

 

“Let me look at you,” he demands, stepping back a little, hand still holding her and it makes blood rush up to her face, makes her feel pinned as he sweeps his eyes over every bare inch of her. He’s still fully dressed, and in any other instance Alina may not care, but she knows what he looks like. Finds it unfair that he’s got to put clothing on in any sense. 

 

“Now you,” she commands, and Aleksander raises a brow at the tone of her voice. But, he steps back and undoes his tunic, slides it off of his torso and drops it to the ground. Follows with his boots and trousers. Is naked before her then, his cock half-hard and it’s somehow bigger close-up, even like this. 

 

He’s smirking when she looks up and she wants to slap it right off of his face. 

 

“Don’t condescend me, Aleksander,” she says instead, “I’ll leave.” 

 

“I wish I believed you,” he replies, taking a step forward, hands moving to cup her face. 

 

She tries to stop the sigh that releases from her throat, tries to keep from relishing in the peacefulness of his touch, the amplification teasing her power where it rests like a sleeping cat inside of her. 

 

“You look tired, Alinochka,” Aleksander says, “Not using your power -“

 

“I know what it does,” she says, “I know.” 

 

Aleksander’s jaw clenches, his hands moving to tangle in her hair and tilt her head back, presses the softest kiss to her parted mouth and steps back. 

 

“Summon for me.”

 

“Now?” Alina asks, her eyes fluttering open to see him moving, to sit before her in the chair by the fire. Looking like he still controls the world like this, even naked, even as close to vulnerable as she’s ever seen him. 

 

“Yes, now,” Aleksander says, a type of sternness in his tone that crawls up Alina’s spine and has her lifting her hands, calling light from inside of herself and letting it spread, letting it brighten the dark room. 

 

It feels like waking up, like coming back to life. Like breathing. Like pleasure. Like warmth. 

 

He watches her, that look of almost-awe on his face, rapture, like she’d seen at the fete, the way he’d stared at her from across the room. Alina lets that look settle in her bones, lets herself luxuriate in it. 

 

“My little sun saint,” he says quietly, as she steps towards him, “You will bring Ravka to its knees.”

 

Alina huffs out a laugh as his hands find her waist, as he presses a kiss to her stomach. 

 

“Wish you would get on your knees instead,” she says, “I don’t care if all of Ravka does. Just you, Aleksander.” 

 

He stills against her, his hands tightening at her hips, and Alina wonders if she’s angered him. Wonders if he’ll have some sort of biting retort for that. 

 

She goes when she feels the pressure of his hands easing her back. Wraps her hands in his hair as he moves off of the chair. 

 

“Is this where you want me, then, Sankta Alina?” He looks up at her from his knees, hands sliding over the outside of her trembling thighs. “You’d have me kneel for you in supplication?” 

 

Alina’s breath goes short, her chest tight as she looks down at him, unsure what to say. 

 

Eases his hands away and kneels down to meet him. “I think I’d rather us be equal,” she says, and Aleksander growls a little, fists his hand in her hair and tugs her mouth to his. 

 

It’s feral, the way he kisses her - bites her lip and slides his tongue behind her teeth, like he’s trying to extract something from her, like the truth will fall from her tongue to his if he knocks it loose in just the right way. 

 

Alina finds herself being pressed back, being splayed out on the soft carpet before the fire, Aleksander’s mouth at her neck, biting and kissing and sucking and she’s going to have bruises tomorrow. Going to have evidence of him everywhere. 

 

“Do you know how fucking angry it makes me, Alina, to know that you let that boy take you? That you let him touch you?” He asks, his hands locked tight into her hair. Makes her feel owned. Makes her feel warm all over, the way his voice turns growling and possessive. 

 

“Saints, Aleksander, I’m not yours -“ 

 

Wrong. Wrong thing to say. 

 

Realizes it promptly when she finds herself thrown - literally, thrown - onto her stomach before the fire, Aleksander’s grip tight on her hips and she’s left staring at the flames, trying to scramble away. He doesn’t let her. 

 

Grips her with hands that are too strong to fight off, pulls her back and up onto her knees, and Alina tries to kick him away -

 

“Let’s see about that, shall we?” Aleksander asks. A hand comes down hard on her ass and Alina yelps, grasping at the plush rug in front of her to no avail. He doesn’t let her squirm, hooks his knees inside hers and spreads her open and Alina has never felt so debauched. 

 

“Let’s see if this little cunt doesn’t belong to me, Alina. If you aren’t made to take me,” he says, leaning over her back and biting at the tender skin of her shoulder, coaxing a whine from her parted lips. She reaches back, unsure of what she plans to do but manages to find a grip on his hair and tugs. Yanks hard enough that his next bite breaks her skin. 

 

Finds something cool slipping around her wrists, wrenching them back to the ground. Takes her a moment to recognize what they are. 

 

Shadows. 

 

“Aleks -“ she chokes out half of his name, receives a mean pinch on her thigh. 

 

“That’s enough of your attitude, Alina,” he says, “Time to be a good girl.” 

 

Alina whines, an annoyed sound that only increases when he lifts her hips higher, maneuvers her like she’s nothing and she should be fighting him, should be squirming away but - 

 

His shadows around her wrists, around her knees; his power seeping into her blood and it almost makes her unable to move, unable to think past the shivery feeling that it’s eliciting. 

 

Behind her, Aleksander chuckles. 

 

“See?” He asks. “You were made for me. And this little cunt should have been mine, and mine alone, little saint. No matter - I’ll reshape you.”

 

Alina moans into the rug, her toes curling at his words. 

 

Aleksander’s hand slides up her spine, presses her forward into the floor, and she gasps when he touches her, his fingers sliding through the gathering wetness between her legs. 

 

Another low, mean laugh. 

 

“All this fuss, and this cunt is still so wet for me already. Tell me, Alinochka - did you every get this wet for him? For your little tracker?” 

 

Alina squeezes her eyes shut, her heart pounding in her head. Shakes her head. 

 

“No,” she whimpers. 

 

“No?” He asks, a soothing touch along her cunt, the back of his knuckles along her slit and Alina whines, her hips moving when he reaches her clit, teases so gently. “Oh, poor thing. No orgasms, and he didn’t take the time to properly get you ready?” He clicks his tongue. “Or did you not want it, Alina?” 

 

If she didn’t want him so badly, she’d threaten to kill him. 

 

“Or maybe you did,” he muses, “But it feels like you might want me more.” 

 

Please,” Alina gasps finally, “Please, just -“ 

 

A slap against her ass. 

 

Just, what?” He growls. “Just fuck you? No, Alina. I’m going to work you open. You’ll see just how much you can take before I’m done with you.” 

 

Doesn’t think that she could possibly withstand everything that he could give her - 

 

His hand twists and then he’s sinking a finger inside of her, and Alina is biting back a gasp at the feeling. 

 

She was right. 

 

His hands are so much larger, reach so much deeper - he has had time to learn how to do this, and he finds what she always seems to be looking for so easily that it infuriates her. Finds the right rhythm, the right depth, the right spot. 

 

Whines and strains against the shadows that hold her down. 

 

“Hush now, little saint,” he murmurs, “There will be time for noise later. Just relax.” 

 

Tries. Tries to soothe her breathing and slow her heartbeat, tries to not feel so furiously out of control as pleasure begins to crest inside of her, hotter and stronger and deeper than anything she’s ever been able to do herself. Has she ever even had an orgasm before? Is it just different, with him? 

 

Two fingers and it’s almost unbearable, the fullness that threatens to peel her ribs open and crush her lungs. Alina whimpers again, hips tilting forward but he keeps her still, a hand on her thigh. Shushes her quietly, that hand moving to wrap around her waist and tease her clit, applying pressure until she’s shivering, until the stretch doesn’t feel like so much when he moves his fingers again. 

 

Until her whines turn to breathless moans and she’s climbing towards a peak with trembling thighs and she can feel that she’s so wet between her legs, the moisture cooling on her skin from the air. 

 

“Good, pet,” the Darkling praises, and it goes right to Alina’s core. “Good. Give me your hand.” 

 

Reaches her hand back and he maneuvers it beneath her, presses it to her clit and removes his fingers, lets her touch. Lets her feel how she’s dripping. 

 

“Your cunt is messy for me now, isn’t it, Alinochka? Pretty and wet. I think you’re ready for more, don’t you?” 

 

Alina nods, the rug burning her cheek a little. 

 

His fingers back inside her but the addition of a third - Alina squeaks, tries to ease away. 

 

He clicks his tongue at her again, scolding with no words and it makes her spine tingle. 

 

“Hush, pet, you can take it. I promise,” he says, words like soothing a wild animal, and that’s what she must sound like, begging incoherently for something she hasn’t even felt yet, her hands above her head and twisted with shadows, his fingers teasing her clit and inside her and the warmth, the weight of his body is so nice when he leans over and kisses that spot on her shoulder that he’d bitten. 

 

Lets her hips sink and learns what it feels like to be opened like this, what it feels like to surrender to pleasure when he brings her to an orgasm, a real one that seems at first like pain, her thighs trembling and cunt going so warm, squeezing and fluttering. He moans a sound against her skin, that low groan of pleasure, like he’s felt it just as much as she has. 

 

Power rises to meet her pleasure and Alina feels like she’s soaring as his hand smoothes over her spine, vision spotting with stars like she’s rubbed her eyes too hard, dampness at the corners. 

 

“There’s my sweet girl,” Aleksander coos, kisses her back, soft. Fingers moving to her clit again and she shakes her head, tries to tell him it’s too much, too soon - he doesn’t listen. 

 

Plays with her and Alina cums again, this one sharper than the last, makes the tears that were just gathering before fall. Not pain, not sadness - pleasure that has nowhere else to go. Sticky and hot in front of the fire, the room flaring with power as it comes over her. 

 

Aleksander hums in something like satisfaction, and she loses a bit of his warmth when he leans up, pulls his fingers from her and she hears, more than sees, that he’s licking them clean. Tasting her. 

 

“Later, I’m going to lick this cunt until you beg me to stop. But I’m going to fuck you first, I think,” he says, contemplative and easy, “How does that sound, little saint?”

 

Alina nods, sniffling a little. “Good,” she manages to say. 

 

“Just good?”

 

“Want it,” she whimpers, concerned by the feeling in her body, the ache that hasn’t been abated with two orgasms - that screams to be vanquished, her body still unsatisfied, unfilled. “Want it, Sasha.” 

 

His fingers dig into her hips so hard that it hurts. 

 

“Say it again,” he breathes, and Alina blinks pleasure from her eyes, focuses on the fire. 

 

“Sasha,” she whispers, “Please.”

 

Pins her open, with hands and shadows that feel equally as cool, an extension of him at her thighs and her wrists and her knees, keeping her open and pliant and still. Feels his cock notch at her entrance, hot and heavy, feels the stretch when he presses the first inch in. 

 

Can’t take it. 

 

Two orgasms and it still twinges with pain, with a sensation that is overly-full, too much. 

 

“Aleksander,” Alina sniffles, shaking head a little. “Sasha, I can’t -“

 

“You can, Alina. You can. You were made to take me; don’t squirm now. Deep breath.”

 

Does as instructed, takes a breath that’s slow and deep and careful. 

 

It didn’t feel like this before. Not at all. 

 

“Answer me something, Alinochka,” Aleksander says quietly. “How long did it take for him to cum?” 

 

Why does he have to talk about this? Why do they have to speak about Mal? All she wants is for him to - 

 

“Answer me,” he growls, “Tell me how it felt when he took you. Did it feel like this?” 

 

Alina shakes her head. No, felt nothing like this. Felt nothing at all like the way he’s splitting her apart. 

 

Was fast and awkward every time, took longer kissing than the actual sex did. Left her empty and wanting. 

 

Alina’s entire body tenses when he presses deeper, shallow thrusts to tease her body open, and she whimpers into her arm, whines as his movement becomes more languid each time, his breathing ragged above her. 

 

“So little, Alina,” he grits, “My little saint. Poor thing, so full already - tell me how it feels, milaya.”

 

Preens that he calls her pretty. 

 

“S’big,” she whimpers, toes curling. Hot hot hot, everything is warm and she feels full, like her ribs are going to crack open with it. 

 

A low laugh, his hand running up her spine. “And?” 

 

“And,” Alina sniffles, “And it feels good, moi soverenyi.” 

 

A moan, and he’s sinking all the way inside of her and Alina is dizzy, lost to the sensation, the stretch of her body around him as he fills her and presses against places that she didn’t realize could be reached. Feels it in her stomach. Her lungs. Her head. 

 

“Sasha.” 

 

A whine, a plea, everything she’s trying to say but can’t - he fucks her, digs his fingers into her hips and does exactly what he said he’d do. Works her open, reshapes her body until it feels like it could never be the same again, feels like she’ll ache with the emptiness of not having him inside of her. 

 

“That’s it, cum for me,” he breathes, “So fucking tight, Alina - cum around my cock.” 

 

A hand tangles in her hair, and he presses her thighs further apart to lean over her, to grip her throat in his other hand and the fire swims before her eyes as she’s wrenched up, against his chest, perched on his thighs like she’s nothing. Like she’s a doll or a toy or a saint all for him to break apart, to remake and mold and fill with gold. With power. 

 

Squeezes her neck, and Alina sighs. Wanted this. Wanted this roughness, this claiming - the owning in the way he just uses her, how he fucks her like she was made for him. 

 

“One more, Alina,” he growls, “Give me one more, and then I’ll put you on your back and fold you in half. Break you apart. Yes?”

 

Realizes she’s saying yes, repeating it, when he starts to chuckle. 

 

Cums and it’s like an avalanche. Like a crashing wave. Hits her like hitting the ground too hard, knocks the breath from her lungs and sets her shaking, twisting away, too much too much -

 

Aleksander shushes her, carefully lifts her off and turns her over, onto her back like he promised and braces above her on his elbow. 

 

“You’ve been so good for me,” he coos, stroking her cheek and licking away her tears. Takes her leg and folds it up, presses her knees to her chest and holds her open and it’s indecent, how hungry he looks as he slides his cock along her folds before he presses in. 

 

An entirely new thing, this angle - hits new places, makes her writhe, makes her cry. Plead. 

 

He kisses her ankle, bites the tender skin. “Just like that,” he says, “Cry for me, sankta. Let me see those pretty tears while I ruin this little cunt. It’s mine, moyo solnyshko. Only mine.”

 

Nods, weepy and overwhelmed, limbs so loose and pliant he doesn’t have to keep her held down anymore. Doesn’t need to do anything but keep fucking her, holding her open. Just sinks into the sensation of taking it, of the pleasure and white noise in her head, the world blotted out. All except for him. 

 

“Yours,” Alina whispers, “Yours, Aleksander. Moi soverenyi.” 

 

An animalistic grunt, a sound like a predator - Alina, held open and still like prey. 

 

“Take my cum then, little saint,” he demands, and Alina nods. Yes. Yes. “I’ll fill you up, and you’ll take all of it like a good girl, won’t you? Show me how it looks dripping out of this pretty cunt?” 

 

Nods again. Of course she’ll do that. 

 

Is still unprepared for the feeling of it, though - of him pressing as deep inside of her as he can be and stilling, his cock twitching as he pumps her full, the sensation warm. Alina looks up at him through teary eyes, his beautiful face shadowed with pleasure, red mouth parted. 

 

Is devastating, above her like this. Will never let anyone see him like this again, except for her. 

 

After a moment he moves, leans back and keeps her legs pressed out of the way, eyes intent on her cunt, the cum spilling from her - both his and hers - and the smallest little smile coaxes up the corners of his lips. 

 

“My perfect little thing,” he says absently, finger trailing over the back of her trembling thigh. 

 

Reaches for him the moment her limbs start to work again, grabby hands latching onto his hair and his arm and gets pulled into his lap, feels like a child again when he settles her against him, strokes her hair and her back, kisses her shoulder. 

 

“M’sorry,” Alina mutters, dizzy with aftershocks, sleepy and a little overwhelmed. Aleksander leans back against the couch, drags a blanket over and covers her up in it, blessed warmth and the beat of his heart beneath her fingertips where they rest on his neck. 

 

He hums, hand slipping between them to tease her cunt, pulls her forward and seats her on his cock and - how? How could he possibly want her again already? - deliciously full and whimpering, fingers playing with the long hair at the nape of his neck. Pulls her down and she just has to take it, to stay there, his cock rubbing at a place inside of her that makes her feel too warm, feels like too much, feels too good that it’s almost wrong. 

 

“I know, solnyshko,” he coos, “I know. It’s alright now.” 

 

“Can I -“ Alina gasps out, her face fucked into his neck. He smells nice. Smells like the woods on a wintry night, like a room warmed with fire and a bed that she can rest in. Smells familiar and delicious and she wants to stay here forever. 

 

“Mhmm,” he nods a little, kissing her temple. 

 

Alina moves her hips, rocks them forward, fire erupting in her veins again and peeling her inside-out, feels like she’s going to burst. He presses against her stomach and Alina crumbles, clutches him and cries out, the pressure too acute, too heavy. He chuckles a little. 

 

“Keep going, Alina,” he tells her softly, “Go ahead. Make yourself cum for me. Feels good, doesn’t it? The way I fill you up?” 

 

Nods, doesn’t even think to tease him about his ego because it does - it does feel good, and she’s never felt so empty and so full at the same time, never felt so feral with want, with want that seems to twist with need. 

 

He peels her away, takes her hands and holds them by her ribs, leans her back - looks at where they’re joined, where she’s moving above him, looking both amused and terribly predatory at the same time. 

 

“You’re making a mess, Alinochka.” 

 

A sound from her throat that she’s never made before, like a moan that tapers into a sigh. 

 

Releases one of her hands and she feels his fingers against her clit, teasing gently, moving along her folds - then his hand comes up and his fingers are covered in their cum, thick and sticky. 

 

“Would you like a taste?” 

 

Nods before she realizes what she’s doing. 

 

His fingers in her mouth then and the taste is different, saltier than she expected, indescribable - like the feeling of him pressing down in her tongue and the way he smiles a little, head tipped up and looking down his nose, like he’s interested. 

 

Goes to take his hand away and Alina shakes her head, flushed with confusion and pleasure and feels it in her spine when he laughs, low and soft, kisses her shoulder as she rocks against him, messy and searching for a rhythm that feels good. Finds it eventually, and he presses down again on her tongue, deeper this time and Alina is moaning around the fingers in her mouth, hips circling, rocking.

 

Feels a luscious type of fullness like this, with him inside her and against her and fingers in her mouth - 

 

“I’ll put my cock in your mouth later, milaya. Would you like that?” 

 

Would she? Hasn’t ever - but yes, yes she wants that. Nods in response, eyes fluttering back open to look at him. 

 

“All you have to do is ask, little saint; I’ll fill you everywhere, anywhere you want.” 

 

Has heard of -

 

He chuckles at her widening eyes. 

 

“Focus,” he tells her, “There you go. There she is - cum like this. Two of your little holes filled, so pretty.” 

 

Tears slipping down her cheeks when her clit grinds against his skin, friction that she didn’t know she needed, toes curling and heat licking up her spine like flames. 

 

“Do you know I can feel it when you cum, Alya?” He asks, thumb stroking her rib. Pulls his fingers from her mouth and grips her hair, tongue insistent against her lips. Lets him in. “Can feel it when you flutter around me. You little cunt gets even tighter and it’s nearly impossible not to cum inside you.” 

 

“It, it feels good?” Alina asks, her brow furrowing a little as his hands move to her hips, lift her like she weighs nothing and then lets her drop back down, fucks her even like this, even while she’s on top. 

 

Aleksander’s head drops back, looks at her, and he’s just so pretty, eyes wide and dark and fire playing with shadows on his face and Alina wants to kiss every inch of him. 

 

Settles for his cheek, his jaw, his neck as he makes a contented sound, presses his hips up into hers, meets every thrust. 

 

“Feels very good, little saint,” he says finally, “Feels very fucking good when you cum around me. Gonna do it again?” 

 

There’s no way she can - her body can’t take that again, another one of those shattering things - he doesn’t seem to feel the same. Urges her on with the way he fucks her, bounces her on his cock, uses her and fills her and Alina lets her head drop back, body pliant and mind wiped clean of thoughts. Only him. Only pleasure. Only the ache of being split apart, of being ruined. 

 

Preens at the good girl that slips from his mouth like a growl, the flush on his cheeks as he fucks her. Isn’t sure how her body hasn’t completely given out yet, isn’t sure how he pulls that last orgasm from her with shadows wrapping around her body, cool and silky, caressing and rubbing and teasing all the right places and she just feels him everywhere - every inch of her skin covered by him, like she’s overflowing with it, those shadows teasing every other part of her open, keeping her suspended and then all at once it’s a crash, everything ceases when he cums inside her again, catches her against his chest when she falls. Crumbles, cracks like glass and doesn’t think that there’s a part of her that he hasn’t touched. 

 

Feels like she’s never been touched by anything other than him. His touch wipes away every other caress, every other thought. Gone from her head, from her body, from her skin. 

 

Reshaped to fit him. 

 

Too tired to contemplate how much she likes it. 

 

“There you go, pet,” Aleksander breathes, the words soft, “Now, who do you belong to, little saint?” 

 

Takes no effort to say, “You.”