“I’m cold, drüskelle,” Nina said.
It was dark in their lonely cave, a long way up in the Fjerdan mountains, where the winds outside snapped with the brutal force of a ringmaster’s whip. An oil lamp flickered silently in the center, casting stretches of light across the cave’s jutted, rocky ceilings, and Nina stared past it, to where Matthias was seated against the far wall, his head tilted back like he was sleeping. With all the shadows crowding in around them, Nina couldn’t tell if he really was was; maybe that’s why she’d spoke. To see if his eyes would open.
They didn’t. But his golden brows furrowed, as if he felt disturbed. “And what do you suppose I should do about it, drüsje?” He asked, voice thick with drowsiness. “Change the path of the winds?”
As if he’d summoned it, a gust of wind whistled in through the mouth of the cave, and set the flames in the lantern blinking wildly.
Nina frowned. It was supposed to be their refuge, this cave. Some refuge it was. Yes, it had four walls—which was a blessing in these lands, where the snow never stopped falling, and where the rivers never did melt—but Nina wasn’t stupid. It was still Fjerdan they were in. Walls or not, the cold ran bone deep.
Nina ground her teeth together to stop them from chattering.
“No,” she said. “But you could warm me up.”
Half of her was joking, wanting to rile Matthias the way he was so easily riled, but the other half was more serious than the dead.
But of course: a scoff fell into the dimness, not her own, and Matthias left it at that.
Nina figured he would, but still felt a pang of disappointment. He was ice and fire, this one. Easy one second, then difficult in the next.
Silence stretched on, and Nina tried to conceal her shivers, to distract herself by watching the orange light of the fire flicker over the cave’s jutted, rocky ceiling.
“You’re shaking,” said Matthias, minutes later.
Nina hadn’t realized he was still watching her. And she wasn’t sure, but she thought she could hear a note of disapproval in his tone.
She rolled her eyes, and hugged herself tighter as her clattering teeth betrayed her again. “Saints. You don’t say.”
Silence once more.
Nina thought he’d maybe laid down, gone to sleep. But then there was shuffling, or the rustle of fabric, and after that, the sound of Matthias’ footsteps moving across the cave floor towards her. He was grumbling, muttering under his breath. It was oddly nice, that. To know it bothered him so much and yet he did it anyways.
Nina smiled, because he couldn’t see.
“Thank you,” She said, when he’d lifted the hide and shuffled in behind her.
Matthias said nothing, but Nina felt the warm, wet puff of his breath against her neck now, could feel the slide of his hand over her waist as he pulled her closer. She was still in her clothes, but suddenly wished she’d had the foresight to take them off. These days there was hardly anything better than the nights she spent with Matthias, curled together just like this, chest to back, and close enough to feel heartbeat.
In her opinion, he didn’t give her this often enough, especially not since the other day when she mentioned she was aware of his morning…predicaments.
She hadn’t meant it in a bad way. It’s not like his arousal upset her.
Maybe it would have, once, but lately it had the opposite effect. Nina actually liked waking up to the feel of Matthias’ hard cock pressed against her back. Some mornings it was just there, just a natural reaction to their proximity as they slept, but other mornings Nina would wake up to Matthias muttering curses in his sleep, his hips trembling, his cock sliding wetly against her skin, so hot it was pulsing. Those mornings desire would grip her, too. She would shuffle backwards, give him friction, encourage it, but it never worked.
Matthias always woke up right at the last second, just when it’d seem that he was going to drop over the edge, and then he’d go scurrying away, face red and scowling, his dripping dick tenting the front of his trousers. He never relieved himself. Not ever.
Bad as it was to admit, Nina liked these mornings best.
All day long they’d walk through blizzards so heavy Nina could hardly see her hand in front of her face, and it was the memory of Matthias’ hard cock that kept her warm.
She wished she could feel it now, but it seemed Matthias was keeping a distance.
Nina tried shifting backwards just a little, but Matthias’ arm around her was like a vice. She couldn’t move even an inch. Nina frowned, the need to touch him thrumming in her gut.
He was such an oaf at times.
She sighed, thinking again of the other morning, and how good the tip of his dick had felt against her lower back. Would he ever let her feel it?
Her thoughts crashed apart as suddenly she was being grabbed and thrusted over onto her back, breath slammed out of her.
Nina blinked, heart pounding. It was Matthias hovering over her, of course it was, his blue fire eyes as dark as coal, and his hands curled tightly around her wrists.
“What are you doing,” the drüskelle hissed.
“What?” Nina breathed. She had no clue what he was talking about. Her heart wouldn’t calm.
“What are you doing,” he hissed again.
With wide, confused eyes, she stared back at him. It was dim still, the wick in the lantern slowly dying out and the hazy light of dawn yet hours away. For a second she wondered if he’d somehow read her thoughts. But when she peered closer, taking in the blush reddening his cheeks and the wild, unfocused look in his eyes, Nina realized he’d been having thoughts of his own.
He was aroused, and badly so. And the knowledge warmed her. Set fire to her. But...
"I've done nothing,” Nina told him.
His fingers tightened on her wrists. “Nothing?” He spit. “How is this nothing?”
In a motion of fury, he took her hand and pressed it hard against his crotch. Nina gasped. His cock was stiff in his trousers, stiff and hot and heavy—
Realizing just what he’d done, what he was still doing now, Matthias dropped her hand as if he’d been burnt. Just like that he was gone, pushing himself off of her, onto his feet. Not even a second has passed before Matthias was on the other side of the cave again.
Nina blinked, and propped up onto her elbows. Her heart was beating wildly still, but for a very different reason. Her hand felt warm from what she’d touched.
“Come back here,” she said.
Matthias was angry, pacing. “No.”
That was his reason, then. Because you’re a witch.
Somehow, Nina didn’t believe it.
If this dumb drüskelle still wanted her dead, he could’ve done it two days ago when she was dangling above that gaping, black rift in the ice, her only link to life being his hand holding her’s. He could’ve done it then. Let go, let her fall. But he didn’t. Instead? He told her his name. That had to mean something.
Nina smirked softly at him, watching his stony face in the dying lamp light. “You shouldn’t start what you don’t intend to finish.”
This made him pause, turn to her. “Who says I started it?”
“I didn’t make your cock hard with my tainted Grisha magic, drüskelle, if that’s what you’re over there thinking.”
A furious blush made its way across Matthias’ cheeks. “Stop that.”
“Why? Afraid my words will enchant you?”
Matthias huffed out a breath, and set his jaw.
Nina loved the way Matthias looked any day, with his glacial blue eyes and his head of golden hair, but she especially loved how he looked now, when what he wanted was so obvious, and yet he continued to deny himself.
“Come, please” she said, her voice gentle this time. “I want to show you something.”
Matthias was grappling with himself.
Nina could see it on his face, and could see the moment she won.
His shoulders sagged, just a little, and then the sound of his feet moving against the ground once more as he walked back over to stand in front of her.
Nina looked up at him, smiling softly. “Sit, drüskelle.”
A moment of hesitation, but Matthias did as he was told. Nina had to admit; it was nice to see him like this, kneeling between her spread legs.
“Give me your hand,” she ordered.
Matthias did. He was staring at her strangely, confused, and only when she guided his hand towards the space between her legs did his expression change.
He pulled his hand back, but not hard enough to get it free. “Drüsje…”
“Hush,” Nina said, tightening her fingers on his wrist. “Feel it.”
Not meeting her eyes, Matthias did. He spread his entire hand across it.
Nina watched his face carefully in the lamplight. “What do you feel?”
Matthias swallowed. “You’re warm.”
“Because I’m aroused,” Nina said. Matthias lifted his eyes to her’s, maybe surprised. She smiled. “Have you met an aroused pussy before, drüskelle?”
A muscle in Matthias' jaw tightened, but he didn’t answer.
She smiled at him. “Would you like to see one?”
Matthias was quiet for a moment, watching his own fingers flex where they were spread out over Nina’s cunt, over her trousers. His thumb brushed up and down. And then he nodded.
“Good drüskelle,” Nina cooed, like he was a dog.
He seemed to like that, cheeks flaming again.
“Pants?” He asked.
Nina nodded. She undid the buttons, and Matthias slid them off her legs. It was still cold in the cave, but Nina’s body was hot with arousal. Biting her lip, she watched Matthias fold her pants and place them cleanly on the ground, just away from the hides they were lying on. For some reason it made her even hornier, watching him do that.
Nina swallowed, and slid her feet back, displaying herself for him. It almost made her laugh, that she was in the birthing position, only it was hard to laugh right now, for some reason. She was wet already. Nina knew she was. It felt hot there between her legs, the heat of arousal thudding like a second heart.
Matthias just stared, face pink. He was still sitting up, and Nina wished badly that he would lower himself now, come close.
So she said, “Lie down.”
The drüskelle did. He settled onto his stomach, so close Nina could feel his warm breath against her cunt. It was a dizzying feeling, a feeling that made her want to pull his head close and make him lick.
“Feel it again,” she said.
Nina had no clue where the sudden need to order him around came from. He was a soldier himself, but in these moments he was just Matthias, the boy afraid to touch.
Matthias raised a hand, and brushed a thumb against her slit. Nina let out a breath, and so did Matthias. He looked hungrier than she’d ever seen him.
“Have you really not seen one before?" Nina asked, when he just continued on with his light, experimental touches. She was practically dripping into his hand. It took actual effort not to shift her hips, make his touch harder.
She already knew he hadn't. The drüskelle were as chaste as monks. But somehow she wanted to hear him say it, wanted to hear him admit it.
Only you, he’d say. Only you.
But he didn't say it.
Instead he said, “I can find a way around a girl, drüsje.”
He said it as if it was a threat. Perhaps it was. But it wasn't fear that clattered hotly in Nina's gut now—if anything, it was anticipation.
And the need to bug him. There was always that.
“Are you going to eat me like a fruit?” Nina asked, grinning.
She expected him to laugh, or maybe grow red again with discomfort, but instead Matthias just seemed to grow even randier. “I want to,” He admitted.
It was Nina’s turn to grow red, though she couldn’t pin it on discomfort. Her neck felt slick with sweat and Matthias’ hadn’t even done anything.
“You can,” she said, feeling a bit breathless. “You’re allowed.”
Matthias lifted his gaze and looked at her. Their eyes held for a moment, and Nina found it was difficult to breathe.
Then Matthias dipped his head like a horse did to drink, and began to lick her.
“Oh,” Nina breathed, her fingers tightening on the hides.
The first hot coil of pleasure was instant, taking her by surprise.
He mouthed at her cunt, kissing it again and again. Liquid heat quivered through her belly and all the way down to her toes.
It was clear then, just why Matthias made such a good solider.
He was unbearably patient, unbearably persistent, never changing pace, just licking and licking and licking again over her clit, over that place made Nina gasp, that made Nina writhe, her fingers reaching out to take hold of his golden hair and hold tight.
Now, Matthias pulled away to breathe, his fingers rubbing slow circles over her pubic hair. In the yellow light coming from the lantern his mouth shone with her wetness. Desire clamped down on Nina at the sight of it, and clamped down hard.
It was like getting winded, how much she wanted him.
“Come here,” she said frantically. “Come, come, come…”
She arched her back, shifted her hips, tried to do whatever she could to bring his tongue to her cunt again. And back he went, sucking her clit now.
Distantly, Nina could hear herself moaning.
A drüskelle is about to make me come, Nina thought frantically as the pleasure heightened. Imagine what Zoya would think.
But what Zoya would think didn’t matter. Nothing did. Even if Zoya were here in this cave with them, shaking her head in disappointment, Nina didn’t think she could bring herself to care. All Nina could focus on was the constant, wet lap of Matthias’ tongue, hot and all over. All she could focus on was the heat spreading through her body, the pleasure spreading with it.
She was going to come.
Nina tightened her hold on Matthias’ hair, her thighs tightening around his head.
“Drüskelle,” She groaned.
She was warning him, but didn’t seem Matthias cared to be warned. As the pleasure crescent over Nina, breaking like a wave, Matthias kept licking.
Her body shook as she came down, and as soon as she’d released his hair, Matthias was on her, pushing her back onto the ground, his mouth meeting her’s hungrily.
It seemed all Nina could do was kiss back. It was all she wanted to do. Her cunt was still wet, still pulsing, but she felt unbelievably content. She hooked her ankles around the back of his knees, pulling him closer, needing him closer, only for Matthias to back away with a heated curse.
“What’s wrong?” Nina breathed, propping up on her elbows.
“Nothing,” said Matthias, but his jaw was set, and he was breathing hard.
Clearly a lie. Which was interesting, because he hadn’t backed off all the way. He was still close enough to touch, but he’d shifted his hips off of her.
Confused, Nina looked down between them.
“Oh,” Nina laughed, suddenly delighted. “Matthias.”
She’d almost forgotten what had started this whole thing: Matthias being hard. He still was now, painfully so it looked, with his dick tenting the front of his trousers.
Testing the waters, Nina lifted her knee and rubbed it against him.
Matthias exhaled roughly, eyelids flickering, and this time pushed himself off of her completely, the cold filling the space where his body had been.
“Are you serious?” cried Nina.
“It’ll go away,” said Matthias.
Oh, he’d better be joking. But it didn’t seem like he was. Matthias had shuffled away, and was now kneeling at a distance with his back to her. The lamplight, which was weaker now, sent flickers of light over his body.
Nina sighed, abandoning the warmth of the hides to crawl across the damp cave floor towards him.
“Come on,” She said. “You can’t just leave it like that.”
“No, you dummy. If you do, it’ll hurt."
"So let it. I've had many pains worse.”
Nina was directly behind him now, she leaned forwards, hooked her chin over his shoulder. He stiffened, but didn't push her away. Small victories were victories still. From here, Nina could see straight down his tight belly to his cock, which was still unbelievably hard, jutting out of his nest of blonde pubic hair.
It made her mouth water.
Nina honestly had to wonder about that. The sight of a cock had never made her feel hungry before, but this one did, Matthias’ did.
She kissed his neck, teasing. "It's a nice cock you've got there, drüskelle. I would love to touch it.”
“Quit it, drüsje.” The frown was clear in Matthias' voice, though his desire was, too. "I should wash your mouth with soap.”
“And I, yours, after what you’ve just done for me.”
Matthias blushed again.
Nina loved that, making him red, bringing whatever it was in his head to light.
“Please?” Nina said, turning his head towards her. She softly kissed the corner of his mouth, and when she pulled away, his mouth followed blindly. Nina brushed their noses together. “Please, drüskelle, can I suck you off?”
A breath shuddered out of Matthias’ mouth, as if he’d been punched.
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you,” said Nina quietly. Her hand climbed down his belly, towards his cock, but didn’t touch him there.
“Yes,” said Matthias.
“What was that?”
“Yes,” Matthias said, louder this time. “Yes.”
Nina smiled, and kissed his mouth, rewarding him.
“See, you oaf?” she said, as she crawled around him and settled down between his knees, just as he had for her. “Was that so difficult?”
Matthias didn’t speak, but Nina knew he was watching her, could feel his eyes on her face as if it were a touch. How did he do that? Seriously. Seemed ironic he was fearful of magic, when to Nina he was magic itself.
His cock was hard, sticking out, a breath away from Nina’s face. Nina licked it.
Matthias let out a breath. His hands rolled into fists at his sides.
Encouraged, Nina sucked the tip of him into her mouth, and felt his body shudder. He was silent as she worked, but his breath quickly grew laboured, taut as a bow.
She sucked and sucked. He was rigid in her mouth, pulsing.
The wind outside was still a howling beast, but it was second place compared to the sound of Matthias’ breathless pants above her.
Nina pulled off only to breathe, and when she did, Matthias reached down and touched her lips, gently, as if to test they were still real. His brows were furrowed.
Nina smiled. “You taste good,” she said, her lips brushing his shaft.
“What do I taste like?” He asked, voice strained.
“Salt,” Nina told him. “Sea.”
She licked him again. Suckled him like she’d suckle sweets. Harder than that. She used hands too. Up and down, twisting around the leaking head. His hips were twitching, and perhaps the pleasure was building up, because the soft, panting noises he’d earlier contained were falling right out of his mouth now, warming the air and also Nina’s blood.
“Nina…” He groaned.
He came with a low pitched whine.
There was no water in the cave to clean him up with, so Nina cleaned his semen with her tongue. She lapped it off his belly, and pubic hair, and inner thighs.
Above her Matthias’ breathing was still struggling.
When she sat up, mouth wet, Matthias was watching her intensely, so intensely it reminded Nina of spectators at a circus show, seeing something they couldn’t fully understand. It was then that Nina remembered he’d never actually had that done to him before. The drüskelle couldn’t understand pleasure, could he? Couldn’t understand how a witch like her could have caused it?
“Saints, drüskelle,” Nina smirked. “You look like you want to kiss me.”
It was true. He had that same stormy expression on his face that he got whenever he wanted Nina badly and hated her for it.
“Do you?” She wondered, reaching up to move a curl from in front of his eyes.
Matthias clenched his jaw and nodded.
Nina smiled, settled her hand on the back of his neck. “Come, then. I won't bite.”
Matthias kissed her, his tongue plunging in, sliding against hers. Nina kissed back just as passionately. Blindly, they find their way back to the hides, where Matthias led Nina down onto the ground and then covered them both.
They kissed and kissed and kissed, until Nina’s mouth hurt, and the place between her legs was pounding. Matthias’ cock was hard and wet again against her bare thigh, too. Dizzily, she reached down to touch it, but he shifted away, out of her reach.
“Drüskelle,” she complained.
“Hush, drüsje, Nina. You need to sleep.”
“I’m not tired.”
“Doesn’t matter. The sun is rising.”
Nina blinked, and turned to look out the mouth of the cave. It was still the early hours of morning, but Matthias was right. The deep black of the sky was beginning to lighten to a royal blue, and after that would come the orange of the sun.
Turning back to Matthias, Nina frowned.
“I’ll go without sleep.”
Matthias' brow raised, incredulous. “For a taste of cock?”
“For a taste of your cock,” corrected Nina.
Hunger flashed in Matthias’ eyes, just as it had been flashing all night.
He kissed her again, no tongue and hard enough to bruise. Then he slid his arms around Nina’s waist, shifted her until her back was to him, and then pulled her close once more. His breath fell against her bare shoulder, made goosebumps rise.
“Fine,” Nina huffed, scowling. Her heart was still a small fury in her chest. “Suit yourself.”
Matthias leaned forwards and brushed his mouth against the back of Nina’s neck.
“I’ll keep it here for you,” He said, shuffling close, so his cock was pressed against the back of Nina’s thigh. Nina, ridiculously, couldn’t help but sigh at the soft velvet feel of it. “In the morning, you can have me again.”
Matthias paused, and Nina wondered if drüskelle were even allowed to make promises to Grishas. It seemed unlikely, but after another moment she felt him nod.
“Yes. And after that, we’ll fish.”
“Fish? Aren’t all the fish frozen?”
Matthias laughed, and the sound shook through her. No matter how many times she heard it, it shook through her. “No," He said. "They swim under the ice, deep in the water, down where the sea looks black.”
Nina wasn’t exactly sure how Matthias planned for them to reach these fish such that swam down deep in the black sea water, but she also found she couldn’t bring herself to put up any protest. How could she? Though she didn't much appreciate the Fjerdan wilderness, it would be nice to eat something other than dried reindeer for once.
“Okay,” Nina said. “I’m in.”
Again, Matthias said nothing. But his hand slid up her side and to her stomach, and then stayed there, right above her belly button.
There’d been a time that her body was quite plump, full of cakes and toffees and Dragonbowl, and it still was of course, just not really how it used to be. The weeks spent chained up in the dark, dank bottom of the Ferolind had taken away almost everything; she was honestly surprised she wasn’t pure skin and bones by now.
It made Nina sad to think about. Angry to think about.
And yet as angry as she was about everything that had happened since the drüskelle—since Matthias, actually, her beautiful dicked Matthias—had seen her that morning on the cliffside and tricked her into revealing what she really was, she found she didn’t have it in her to hate him. She was annoyed by his naivety and frustrated by his prejudice, but she couldn’t hate him. And she didn’t think he could hate her, either.
Perhaps that meant she was naive, too.
If so, she would be for now. She would stay rooted in ignorance until civilization forced her into enlightenment again.
They’d been travelling for two weeks now, she and Matthias, through snow and ice and blizzards and whaling camps. Though the ice fields seemed endless, Nina knew it wouldn’t be much longer until they reached something, someone, and had to become themselves again. Nina wasn’t sure if she should be happy or sad. She felt sad, though, thinking about it.
And maybe Matthias could read her mind, because he pulled her tighter against his body, tighter against his still hard cock, and didn’t let go. Nina sighed, closed her eyes, settled in. It was good, being held by him.
Good in a way that never failed to surprised her.
And, as Nina drifted off into the dark, followed closely by the sound of the Fjerdan winds howling just outside the cave, she realized it was warm.
Here in Matthias’ arms, both of them wrapped in the hides of wild beasts, the bite of the cold seemed further away than ever.