.

.

Gwaine's hole of a basement is noxious with the stench of cannabis and tobacco smoke, billowing in Mithian's face as she tries to kiss the fuck out of the jacked sod beneath her.

He's all teeth and octave-deep slurs, hungry for touch and the inside of his mouth sour like the raspberry vodka. Merlin runs his palms over her domino-patterned leggings.

With big, slim hands like his, almost pianist-long fingers, Mithian imagines getting fingered open by him would be a fantastic time.

It's damn near impossible to adjust herself in Merlin's lap. She keeps riding up her lacy, black skirt; he's not helping matters by stroking her thighs and forcing up the material. Anyone can witness the stretch and curve of her ass, completely without panties even with the duo-hued leggings.

Mithian's tongue smears across the opening of Merlin's pillowy lips.

She enjoys how easy this is: no pressure, no great expectations, and he's too fucked-out by his boyfriend to ask for a condom.

"How was Percy tonight?" she whispers against Merlin's ear, breathing into it.

His face looks hilarious. It's a combination of pale and rosy heat, from all the snogging. Merlin's chin wet and filmy with a layer of her magenta, shiny lipstick.

He shivers up against her, those hands sliding to clench her buttocks but doing no more. "What do you think?" Merlin whispers back, making eye contact. "He fucks like a rockstar." This brings on a giggle as Merlin's head lolls back on the armchair. His dark brown strands of hair sticking to his forehead.

"Cockstar," he announces, grinning stupidly big.

Mithian sucks on her thumbpad, wiping it over his chin in a rare motherly gesture.

"His cock is huge from what I hear."

"Monstrous," he answers in a shout, giggling again. His pupils blown up wide. "And all miiine!"

She's about to kiss him for being so adorable and pissed off his arse, until Mithian feels the back of her vest being tugged at sharply, jolting her back from leaning forward.

Behind her, Vivian sneers.

"Mithy, for god's sake!"

Another backwards tug and she's stumbling out of Merlin's lap, leaving him to whine at the loss of proximity and warmth.

"Let's go," Vivian hisses, grabbing Mithian's hand and escorting her upstairs.

The rest of Gwaine's 'fuck it it's the weekend let's drink' party seems rowdier, booming with dubstep remixes on each floor. In the back of her throat, she can taste the heavy tang of alcohol. Packed in with these strangers, Mithian feels tiny. She's flooding and wadding through a lost sea of faces and lights and noises.

And Vivian will not let up, digging her manicured nails into Mithian's skin punishingly.

"I leave you for an hour, and you're snogging that pleb," she snaps, rearranging her voluptuous, baby blue top one-handed. "Jesus christ, Emerson is not the default you need."

Instead of focusing on Vivian's breasts, unlike the two blokes in the stairwell, Mithian catches the familiar gleam of blonde curls from the front hall's entrance.

And she's not able to look away.

When she was only seven years old, Mithian had been kicked in the ribs by Hilda, her pet foal. Her lungs almost crushed in. Right now, she thinks they ache in memory.

"... I don't want to be here anymore," Mithian insists, spinning round to her classmate. "You're right, we should go."

At her tightened expression, Vivian peeks over Mithian's shoulder.

Recognition dawns on her. And, suddenly, Mithian wants to get far away from the damned country.

"Oh sweetheart," Vivian drawls, smiling but without an ounce of kindness. Dramatically sighing, she fishes out a new cigarette from her handbag, lighting it and appearing vexed when Mithian snatches it from her, visibly trembling. "You can do a lot better than that..."

Mithian puffs out a thin cloud between kiss-numbed lips.

"Fuck off," she says after a minute, tonelessly.

"Does Elena really not know you've been sending her those pathetically romantic KiK texts?"

"I told her," she mutters.

One of Vivian's delicate eyebrows went up.

"And what, she rejected you? You?"

"More like ran away from me." Mithian can't help it, she can't. She gazes right back at Elena's figure. Gwaine must have been telling some brilliant story with her, making exaggerated gestures, because Mithian thought she could hear Elena's nostril-snorting laughter. "Fast as she could."

Vivian whips out her pastel-plated mobile, gleefully.

"Oho, this is sooo going on Twitter," she sing-songs.

Mithian's temper rears up.

"Vivian, what part of fuck off are you not listening to?"

A further stream of cigarette smoke trails off Mithian's frowning lips. The blonde woman dubiously eyes her and then stomps off.

.

.

She's nearly three-quarters done with Vivian's cigarette.

Mithian lingers against the now empty stairwell's banister, having curled herself onto a plush carpeted step. She smashes the remainder to the eggshell white wall, looking up.

Standing above her, Elena gives her an awkward, simpering look. Like someone's put hooks in the corners of Elena's mouth and yanking on.

"Hi," she breathes. "I know you probably don't wanna talk to her after...w-well, I shouldn't have acted like that. I'm really sorry."

As much as she wanted to use sarcasm, to push away, to reject her back, Mithian finds herself staring in undisguised longing. Or maybe it's sadness. Elena's using too much blush, and her mascara is clumpy, and no one should wear clogs...but fucking hell, she's just gorgeous. Always has been.

"You made your point clear," is what Mithian tells her, keeping her voice abnormally level-headed.

"I don't think I did." Elena argues pointedly, and then cringes at her own words, "W-Wait, not like that."

She flounders a moment, body tensing and rounded eyes darting, and Mithian begins to crack a smile despite herself.

"I should have said I liked them. You're a really good poet, Mithian."

"Then why did you...?"

"Have a meltdown?" Elena supplies helpfully. She tilts her head, staring down at her hands, fingers twisting anxiously. "I've...never had someone confess their feelings. To me...or about me? I didn't know what to do."

Mithian teases, smoothing down her lacy skirt, "Running away usually means a no."

She shifts onto her feet, now fully aware of how weird pantyless leggings were.

"No?"

"Yeah," she says, parting Elena's hands and guiding them to cup Mithian's face. They're damp with perspiration and too-soft and just the right intimate to thrill her. "Is this okay?"

Elena nods, not even hesitating. Her warmer mouth tastes clean, and like peppermint gum.

"Yes."

.

.


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