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sweet and right and merciful

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There’s no shortage of things to appreciate about life outside Barovia, but this might be what Ireena likes most.

When she steps into her room it’s already occupied. Ronja’s long, slender form lies in the bed. She’s got the blankets kicked off to the side, too much in the summer heat, even as night begins to settle and the temperature yields a bit. She’s in her night clothes already, just her underwear and a loose top, and her hair’s pulled back in a sloppy knot as she scans through the book in her hand, hooded lids revealing that she’s unimpressed with the content. But once Ireena’s opened the door she’s perked up. The book is abandoned and Ronja’s flashing a tired smile up at Ireena, her ears flicking a bit at the sound of the door shutting behind her.

The tavern is quiet, unoccupied aside from them staying in one of the two rooms available upstairs, and Ireena appreciates the routine they have now. She sits on the bed, Ronja scoots over to make room, and she peels off her shoes, her pants, until she’s down to her boxers and a shirt, and that’s fine enough to sleep in. The bed’s too small but she doesn’t complain as she lies down.

“Things simmer down at the bar?” Ronja asks sarcastically. Even with her tired gaze there’s that fierce adoration glinting in her eyes, and that alone draws a happy sigh from Ireena.

“Mmhm,” Ireena replies. “Not exactly a lively spot.”

Ronja’s starting to shift herself to her side, wordlessly bending to get contact with Ireena. Her arms snake around Ireena’s waist with a content hum. Ireena smiles lazily before rolling them both over so she’s laying on top of Ronja. They’ve got a pattern established in the few days--weeks?--since leaving Barovia. A long life in a land of death and gloom made Ireena cherish these opportunities, where she can just be present with the woman she loves. It’s a nightly routine, taking time to simply hold each other, enjoy the company, exchange kisses and then fall asleep in a heap of tangled limbs.

True to routine, Ronja wraps her arms around Ireena and draws her into a kiss. It’s slow and there’s no real heat behind it, just a motion of comfort. Pushing forward and pulling back, gentle take and give.

Ireena can feel Ronja grin beneath her as she meets Ireena’s lips with real pressure this time. Ireena’s learned a lot about Ronja since they left and, well, actually had time to be in each other’s company sans mortal peril. She didn’t expect such a stoic and ferocious person to be so hungry for attention. Ireena’s picked up on enough hints to assume Ronja’s had a lonely life, and now, having someone to love and be loved by, she drinks in every opportunity to be close, closer. She likes contact, likes having a hand to hold when they walk, likes wrapping her arms and legs around Ireena when they sleep, likes searching for more when they kiss. And, hell, who is Ireena to complain? If Ronja wants more, she can happily provide.

Ireena tilts her head to get a better angle and Ronja responds instantly. Her subtle requests for more become less restrained. She’s pushing up into each kiss like she’s trying to swallow up Ireena’s breath, all hunger without restraint. When she lets her mouth draw open Ireena’s content to meet her, parting her own lips and readjusting again to go deeper.

Ronja’s got a taste to her, not that it’s anything Ireena could describe. In the way people have their own look and smell and it’s not something words could explain, Ronja’s got a taste. It isn’t sweet exactly, but it is sweet, and Ireena thinks about how honey couldn’t really compare to the tongue dragging against her own.

They part only when Ireena loses her breath. She manages to draw her mouth away from Ronja in spite of her girlfriend's frustrated pursuit (girlfriend? girlfriend.) Relentless, Ireena thinks, and lets out a faint chuckle.

"Learn to breathe through your nose," Ronja huffs, and she's already chasing down another kiss. She's impatient and it shows--she mouths frantically, all hunger and greed, pushing herself forward firmly into Ireena's embrace. Ireena lets out a muffled noise of surprise, hasn't even had a chance to breathe, and she doesn't even think about it, really, when she retaliates with a forceful bite to Ronja's lip.

Ronja yields wholeheartedly with a loud, unrestrained, beautiful moan.

It stops Ireena in her tracks. She locks eyes with Ronja, not sure how to respond or move or even think after that noise, and Ronja seems equally baffled, with a lovely red blush creeping across her cheeks, and gods if that wasn't just a perfect hue against the copper of her skin, fuck. And it's odd, the way they're both hovering between movements, as if their impromptu bedtime makeout sessions had never gotten heated before, but, well, their process was usually slow and steady, and with a certain hesitant distance between them, a caution to let things escalate.

It's Ronja who finally breaks the silence. She sighs away her tension, then sucks in a breath. "Okay, I need to know now where this is going."

Ireena's not even sure herself, halfway through a thought when Ronja blurts out, "And it's fine if it goes nowhere! I know we haven't talked about this, ah, I just-- listen, Ireena, I'm really worked up. And I can go take care of myself but, uh..."

Ronja’s face just keeps going hues deeper with every word from her mouth and Ireena can't help but giggle at the sight. Ronja, brazenly confident, brash, self-assured Ronja, fumbling over her words and redder than a beet beneath her.

"What?” Ronja says defensively. “I'm doing my best here, okay? You can't just bite my lip like that and then expect total composure on my part--"


She quiets immediately, staring up at Ireena with alert eyes.

"We can...we can give it a shot. Let's just take it slow, alright? I've, um, never done this. Not with another person."

Ronja's face lights up as she cracks a smile. "What, you've never fucked? Seriously? The coveted damsel of Barovia has never gotten laid?"

"Barovia wasn't exactly rife with romantic opportunities."

"Well, listen," Ronja's voice suddenly shifts, low with a deep rasp, that sultry tone that sends a shiver down Ireena's spine. Her hands slowly trail up along Ireena's ribs until they are draped lazily over her shoulders. "I can take the lead, if you want. Show you how things are done. It's no different than getting yourself off, really." She pauses, then adds, "There's no way you haven't done that before, right?"

Now it's Ireena's turn to blush. Ronja flashes a wolfish grin. "Filing that thought away for later." And, there Ireena goes, more heat.

Ronja's voice changes again, her tone now soft and inquisitive. "Okay?"

"Okay," Ireena replies without hesitation.

Ireena's guided by a light pull into a kiss, slow and languid and that honey sort of sweet. She thinks she should be more...present, but her thoughts are drifting and only settle on one point: Ronja's attentiveness. Ireena's not sure how she can be so damn adaptive. Only a moment prior she was reckless and ravenous and needy, and now here she is, working Ireena's lower lip into a careful suck, so, so delicately encouraging Ireena to respond. Ronja just reads situations well. She takes all of Ireena's tension and hesitation and washes it away. The steadiness of this new pace, that's what Ireena needs, and Ronja's listening. Ireena secures her teeth around Ronja's lip--gentle this time, not a bite, a nibble, and Ronja's mouth parts for her in response with a happy little noise. And gods, however often they find themselves in this situation, pressing their tongues forward to meet, Ireena can't get used to it. Ronja's taste is so her; no way to describe it, no comparable flavors, it just is Ronja, and Ireena decides this is something she could do every day for the rest of her life and it still wouldn't get old.

The rest of her life? That's a thought, isn't it.

Ronja doesn't give her a moment to dwell on it, though. She tilts her head and the new angle lets her go deeper, and the hands wrapped around Ireena's neck give just enough pressure to tell Ireena she needs to move her head. She tilts too, and Ronja parts lips with a delicious smacking sound, and it's all Ireena can do not to stare at the spidersilk thin trail of saliva clinging between them. Ronja presses a little peck to the corner of Ireena's mouth, and then another right below that along her jaw, and then a long trail up to her ear.

Ireena realizes she's moaning now when Ronja tongues at her earlobe, sucking it into her mouth with a delicate nibble. The pressure and release, pressure and release of her sucks draw out a string of pleasant sounds from deep within Ireena's chest, and she lets her weight sink down onto the body below her.

Fingertips glide from Ireena's shoulder blades to her bicep, then further down, tracing a path over every ridge of her ribs, until they finally settle with a grip just above the bones of her hip. When Ronja finally releases her lobe, she whispers a breathy "Okay?"

"Okay," Ireena says, and she notices her voice has more rasp to it.

Ronja nuzzles into the junction of neck and jaw and Ireena gives her the access she wants. Her reward is instant, a warm and wet open-mouth kiss to a curve of muscle in her neck. She moves down an inch, and then another kiss. Another inch, and this time she draws her tongue across Ireena's skin, punctuating the motion with a little suck. Ireena's spine is collapsing and she's melting into the body beneath her when she feels teeth make contact with her flesh.

And suddenly she's not there in the tavern guest room. She's in her room, the one back home, and the teeth on her neck are sharp and they hurt, and she can feel the warm flow of blood as it spills from the twin punctures, and she's screaming her resistance in her head but her body won't cooperate--


She's here again, in the room. Her vision returns to her with a few blinks, and Ronja's mortified expression comes into view. Ireena looks around--she's sitting bolt upright, and she has one hand frantically rubbing the point on her neck where Ronja had bit. Ronja was sitting up too, her hands caught between a desire to jerk away and a desire to reach out to comfort. They hang in the air with tensely curled fingers. Every muscle in Ronja's body looks tense. Her face is contorted and baffled in a way that looks about two seconds from crying.

"Ireena?" she repeats, and there's a sharp note of concern in her voice. "I-- I'm sorry, Ireena, I didn't know--"

"It's okay, I'm-- I'm fine, Ronja." Ireena can hear the dissipating panic in her own voice.

"I'm so sorry, I didn't know--"

"Ronja. I didn't either."

"Are you...are you alright?"

Ireena takes a moment to think. She rubs the spot on her neck. "I'm okay. Let's just, more biting, okay? I don't think-- I'm-- I'm not ready for that. I didn't think it would be an issue, but, uh. For now. I can't do that."

Ronja finally lets her hands reach out. She places one tentatively on Ireena's cheek, her thumb drawing circles across her skin. Ireena leans into the touch as Ronja says, "Let me get you some water and we can call it a night."

"I want to keep going," Ireena mumbles. She turns her head and presses a kiss into Ronja's palm.

"I told you, I can take care of myself, you don't have to worry. Or feel obligated to do anything. It's clearly been a lot, we should just settle you down and go to bed."

"Ronja," Ireena speaks more sternly now. "I want to keep going." She draws her own hand up to cover the one resting on her cheek. "Can I take over leading? I think I'd be more comfortable with that."

Ronja stares at her for a moment, blinks, then the tension in her spine evaporates. "Okay. You tell me if you need to stop."

Ireena hums her agreement as she wraps her fingers around Ronja's hand, slowly guiding it down to the mattress, resting at her side. Ireena likes this more, the way she can set the pace, the way Ronja's back folds in concession as Ireena leans forward. Ronja's pressed against the mattress and Ireena's holding herself over her body, and there's a level of control she feels from the situation that sets her mind at ease. She's the one now meeting Ronja's lips. She tries to follow the pattern set before as she slips her tongue under Ronja's bottom lip and sucks. Ronja is so beautifully compliant, instantly opening her mouth and pressing into the kiss, but Ireena savors the moment, suckling on her lip two, three, four times more before finally releasing and tonguing her way into Ronja's mouth. Beautifully compliant and beautifully responsive--Ronja mewls with every push and pull. Ireena traces her fingertips across Ronja's jaw, following the motion with little kisses, a mirror of Ronja's actions before. She stops at Ronja's ears, because dammit, those big elf ears and their lack of a lobe to mouth at, and she's still before taking her hand and carefully dragging the pad of her thumb along the outer rim of her ear. A deep rumble echoes in the back of Ronja's throat.

Ireena lets out a chuckle. "Was that a purr?"

Ronja's face flushes and her ear flicks nervously. "Sensitive spot, okay? I told you I was worked up."

"S'cute," Ireena hums, placing a chaste kiss to Ronja's cheek. She retraces the path along the ridge of her ear again, and Ronja seems to relax more, her purring unrestrained. The low rumble is a constant background noise as Ireena runs her thumb over and over that same line. She could do this for hours, she thinks. Just sit here and listen to that sweet sound of contentment. And from Ronja of all people, always so guarded, but here she is now, a puddle under the ministrations of Ireena's hand.

Maybe she lingered on that motion longer than she should, but she eventually slips her hand away, and now it's petting at a pulse point on Ronja's neck.

"You can kiss there.” Ronja pauses before adding, “Or bite. Nothing's off-limits."

Ireena smiles and gives the spot a quick peck. "Someone's eager, huh?"

"What dignity do I have to save at this point?" Ronja mutters, and follows with an impatient "Ireena," drawing out the last syllable of her name.

"Okay, okay," Ireena says, and her mouth finds that spot on her neck. She licks at the flesh, seeking out the precise location of that pulse, the swelling and release with every erratic heartbeat. There's that Ronja taste again, but it's accented by the salt of a faint dewy sweat now. Ireena laps until the salt taste is gone before sealing her lips around the spot and giving it an experimental suck. A rumbling moan from Ronja tells her she's hit her mark.

This time her suck is firmer. She can feel the sweet vein, the skin around it rising into her mouth. And when she releases she realizes that being bitten may not work for her, but biting doesn't worry her. She isn't gentle when she sinks her teeth into the meat of Ronja's neck. With this better grip she can properly pull at the skin. She sucks--hard.

There it is again, that rich moan from Ronja, loud, unrestrained. And this time it's accompanied by a frantic rolling of her hips, pushing forward to seek contact, any contact. Her hips stutter against Ireena's abdomen. The friction gives Ronja another cry and Ireena finds herself shivering at the touch. A surge of fire rushes right down her body and the thought of need is all that's present in her mind.

"This is coming off, now," Ronja huffs, pawing at her own shirt. Ireena sits up only to let her yank the clothing over her head and toss it aside.

Ireena's caught glances of Ronja shirtless a couple times now. Just fleeting instances, like when she's changing for bed or stepping out of a stream from a wash. But this is different. Ronja settles back into the mattress and holds her arms behind her head, just inviting Ireena to drink in her bare chest. Ireena doesn't even realize she's blushing until Ronja gives a cocky smirk and comments, "You can look."

She's got pronounced collarbones, narrowed shoulders. That copper color clings to her chest until lower, lower, it swells into two breasts--oh god her tits are beautiful--smaller and round, and the color turns a chocolate brown around her nipples, soft and pretty and perfect. The wilting ivy tattoo swings around from her shoulder, past her neck, circling in the center of her sternum. And her ribs, the rise and fall of her breathing, the smooth skin along her abdomen, the barely visible strands of blonde hair peeking out from just above the low line of her boxers--

Ronja's laughing, and Ireena blinks to attention. "You're really cute, staring like that," Ronja giggles.

"Mm, can you blame me?" Ireena replies, sinking slowly down so she's pressing weight against Ronja's chest, and that cocky tone turns into stuttered breath. "You are beautiful, you know."

“I’m aware,” Ronja comments, and Ireena playfully nips her collarbone at the remark. She’s smiling, and then she’s frowning, looking up at Ronja.

“Um, what...from here…”

“Oh, anything, really,” Ronja replies, that purr sneaking its way into her words. “I told you, touch, kiss, bite, anything. Don’t have much in terms of limits.” When Ireena hesitates, Ronja rolls her eyes. “Ireena, oh my god, just put your hand on my boob already.”

Ireena’s laughing--and it’s nice, she thinks, that they can be intimate and heated and still laughing and playing--as she glides a hand from Ronja’s side to her breast. Ronja’s commentary continues while Ireena carefully draws her hand across the swell of skin. “Don’t know how you are so controlled. Gods, Ireena, I don’t even want to think about how many times I’ve wanted to get you topless, and here you are getting politely acquainted with my tits. Mm, I swear, I had plans to get you to open up enough so I could get my mouth on--”

A pinch of Ronja’s nipple shuts her up with a sharp groan. “You’re so impatient,” Ireena says, and is that even her own voice? She didn’t know she could get that low sound, that growl in the back of her throat. Ronja’s a puddle in the mattress, eyes tightly shut, breathing heavy through her mouth.

Ireena withdraws her hand and starts up a sequence of kisses. Collarbone down her chest, and continuing down, down, until her nose brushes up against the skin of her nipple. Ronja’s chest rises and falls dramatically, that little point of skin all pert now, and with a glance up to Ronja’s face to confirm that, yes, she looks incredibly pleased, Ireena latches on.

Ireena didn’t think Ronja could be more responsive, but the moment her lips close around the nipple, Ronja’s heaving. Ireena gives an experimental lick and that draws another sharp breath from Ronja, escaping her throat with a whine. Another lick, another whine. And this time she seals her lips and sucks, and Ronja’s squealing at this point. She’s rocking her hips up but Ireena places a strong hand on one side to hold her down, smiling at the breathy “Fuck!” it pulls from Ronja. Every suckle gives another beautiful reaction--the dramatic inhale, the whiny exhale, the whimper as she tries to rock her hips. She sucks more skin in her mouth and pairs her suckling with swirls of her tongue.

When she starts to clamp down with her teeth, Ronja frantically calls out, “Stopstopstopstop!”

Ireena releases her grip immediately, pulling herself up to meet Ronja’s eyes. There’s a panic starting to surge through her veins when she asks, “What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

“I am incredibly okay, and what’s wrong is that I’m about to come in my underwear without you ever fucking touching my cunt.” Ronja’s wiggling her hips and Ireena leans to the side. “These are coming off now,” Ronja says, hurriedly yanking the underwear off her body and tossing it to the floor.

“Okay, Ireena, please, I need this now.” Ronja lies back down and, for the first time, Ireena gets to drink in the whole sight of her, bare and welcoming. Her hips are sharp, her thighs skinny, and there’s a beautiful patch of golden curls resting right above her center, and Ireena can see the glistening slick--

Ronja’s pulled her into a needy, open-mouthed kiss before she gets a chance to linger on the sight of her. She’s sloppy, not every movement hitting its mark, and those noises erupting from her are so desperate now. Ronja pulls back just enough to whisper, “You good with this?”

“I’m very good with this,” Ireena is surprised at the gasp in her own voice.

“S’ just like getting yourself off. An’ we can stop whenever, just say the word,” Ronja says.

Ireena’s hand moves down Ronja’s abdomen, pausing for a moment to give an experimental tug at those golden curls, before arcing under the curve of her pelvis. God, Ronja’s wet, and that feeling of sticky fluid sends a surge of heat through Ireena. She’s careful though, precise. She draws one finger through Ronja’s folds, testing the motion, and Ronja throws her head back with a whimper. That exposed neck is too much to ignore; Ireena latches onto a patch of muscle, clamping down with her teeth as she takes a second finger, retracing the path of the first. The motion repeats, back and forth, and she can feel the slick building up on her fingertips. Ronja’s a steady supply of whines now, but she’s clearly hungry for more, bucking her hips up with a drawn out “Ireenaaaa”.

And, yeah, that’s too much for Ireena to ignore. She’s slow as she slips one finger into Ronja. It’s warm and wet and perfect, the way her muscles clench around that finger. Ireena pushes in as far as she can before withdrawing, and then the motion again, just as steady, in and out. In and out once, twice, three times, and then she pulls the finger out completely. Ronja protests but Ireena is quick to return to her actions, this time with a second finger. That added girth kicks Ronja into high gear. Her groans have turned into Ireena’s name, her hips rolling in tandem with Ireena’s pumping, her legs tangled around Ireena’s back to draw her in closer, closer. And Ireena’s still biting down at that spot on her neck, lapping with her tongue, sucking in, biting, lapping, sucking. When she guides her fingers in and curls, pushing against the muscles of her wall, pairing the action with a suck and a push against her clit with her thumb, Ronja comes with a shout of Ireena’s name.

Sometime in the trembling waves of her orgasm Ireena pulls away, removing her fingers, letting go of her neck, now marked with a bright red spot. Ireena cups Ronja’s face with her clean hand, rubbing at her cheek with praises--”You’re good, I’ve got you, there’s a good girl, I’m here.” Ronja eases back from her high slowly, the tension evaporating from her face in increments, until all that’s left is exhausted relaxation.

“C’mere,” Ronja mumbles, and she reaches for Ireena’s other hand, still wet and dripping. “Lemme clean you up.” Ronja guides the two fingers into her mouth. The motions of her tongue over the sensitive pads of Ireena’s fingers, taking in her own slick, that wetness Ireena had drawn from her, it sends a shiver down Ireena’s spine. She’s aware, now, of the tension in her own body, the heat that’s been quietly sitting in the pit of her abdomen, the moisture she’s now feeling in her own boxers.

Ronja releases her fingers, placing a kiss to Ireena’s palm before letting go of the hand. She’s got that lazy look in her eyes, the hooded lids, as she sits up for a kiss. It’s gentle, not heated, more love than desire. Ireena’s ready to lean into the kiss when Ronja pulls back and meets Ireena’s gaze.

“Your turn?”