-- I'm writing this for my friend Laurel, myself, and everyone else who was desperate to see Zane and Danica break down the emotional walls and get it on.

Disclaimer: Hawksong (and Snakecharm for everyone whose read it 33) belong to AAR, because if they DID belong to me, they'd never leave Zane's bedroom.

What He Wanted

By: TIW

*****

Zane slid through the market with a natural ease, sending smiles and greetings to the jovial people around him. He was once again thankful to be born serpiente, to be able to be immersed in his people as their Diente, and not need to stay detached like his mate might have.

Again, his thoughts traveled to his beautiful mate, the royal hawk, last princess of the Shardae line, his Tuuli Thea and Naga, Danica. He was eager to see her, because she'd been holed up in sha'Melay since the night before, and A'isha had refused to let him into the dancer's nest with the vague message that Danica was "practicing."

Since the execution of their would-be assassins, the avian guard Karl and his once-closest guard, the white viper Adelina, things had run relatively smoothly. Avians and serpientes still sometimes had spats in the market over one thing or another, but for the most part, the fights, if they could be called that, broke up easily and were reduced to little more than petty disagreement.

His destination now was the nest that lay in the forest near the palace, where the dancers made their home. He was determined to get his mate back, or at least be allowed to sit in with her. He still felt very much a "newly-wed", and longed to spend as much time with Danica as possible before some unforeseen disaster broke out.

The entrance to sha'Melay was simply an opening in the nets, vines, and earth that made up the domed walls of the dancer's nest and he easily slipped in, mere steps away from the main room where the platform surrounded by torches sat, surrounded by persians carpets and pillows, where the dancers slept and studied. Close enough to hear the light music of flutes, he was intercepted by a very agitated A'isha, who jabbed a delicate finger into his chest, surprising the Diente.

"And where do you think you're going, Zane Cobriana?" She was extremely informal but boundlessly loyal to the Diente.

"To see my mate. I know she's still in there, she has been since last night." Zane answered, masking his slight perturbance at being barred from Danica again.

"She's still practicing! You cannot see her!" A'isha replied imperially, tossing her head and turning away. "If you keep barging in to interrupt us, she'll never learn and she'll need to spend more time here than she already does!"

What the popular dancer described as "barging in and interrupting" had occurred only twice, but she made it sound as if his sole objective was to aggravate her. Zane couldn't help but chuckle at the harried dancer. He suspected that she was already slightly frazzled from trying to turn the domesticated, reserved avian into that of free-spirited dancer. He had utmost faith in the both of them.

"All right, all right, but will she be finished soon?"

"Maybe." A'isha teased, sending him a mischievous look before disappearing back into the nest to resume her duties.

However, Zane had no intention of leaving until he at least glimpsed his mate, and so he crept to the doorway, staying in the shadow that was thrown to one side of the small opening. Looking about, it did not take long to find his mate. What he saw left him breathless and wide-eyed.

Danica was atop the raised platform, performing a somewhat complicated dance. There were a few flaws in her movements but she managed to recover after each misstep. A'isha and a few other dancers were standing and sitting around, nodding and giving quiet instruction to the dancing Naga.

She was as gorgeous as she'd ever been, but now she wore the dress of a dancer and she looked exquisite. Even more though, she looked painfully enticing, and the dance she was performing surely must have been one of the more provocative, perhaps a dance of love or lust or seduction. He wondered whether she knew, because his slightly-reserved mate still blushed at more intimate contact or the subject of, and watching her move the way she was was just begging him to jump onto the platform and make love to her.

He knew that if he stayed to watch her any longer, he might very well forget A'isha's chastisement or his mate's modesty and charge in. Taking a deep breath, Zane tore his gaze from his voluptuous mate, walking purposefully from the nest and back toward the palace.

He was in need of a very stiff drink.

*****

Irene looked up as the nursery door opened and her brother entered, looking almost disheveled and distracted, a slight rouge on his cheeks.

"Zane? What's the matter?" Irene raised her brow, cradling her newborn son tenderly. Salem was only a week old and Irene had been spending most of that week in the nursery or bed.

"It's driving me mad, Irene." He growled, though not menacingly, smothering his face in one of the soft pillows that littered the nursery floor, collapsing onto some of the cushions.

"What is?" Irene had a very good of idea of what Zane spoke of, judging from his appearance.

"I want her so badly." He was not ashamed to discuss or admit this to his sister. She'd been one of his only confidantes concerning his feelings toward Danica during their precarious beginning directly following the war's end.

Irene smiled at her brother sympathetically, nodding as she rocked her son. "I know Zane. Anhamirak has blessed you with infinite patience. You've been nothing short of a gentleman to Danica these last months."

"I don't know how much longer I can go on like this Irene. I saw her dancing at sha'Melay. A'isha and the dancers are teaching her." He took a deep breath, tilting his head back to try to clear his mind of the heady intoxication the image of his dancing Naga induced.

"Soon Zane. Danica loves you as much as you love her, and if she is now a part of the dancer's nest, she is surely unwinding. I'm sure that it won't be much longer." The younger sibling smiled at her brother.

The day he'd become Arami, her brother had sworn nothing but hatred for the hawk princess and even gone as far to go to Hawk's Keep and kill her. But he'd returned that night, bloodless. He'd confided in her that he couldn't slay something so exquisite or beautiful... at least not yet.

Now, she was watching as that same brother, now Diente, lusted hopelessly after his beautiful pair bond, speaking of not how much he hated her, but how much he loved and wanted her. She wished that there was something more she could do for her brother, but assurances were all she could give.

"For all our sakes, I hope so. I think I'm becoming irritable." Zane chuckled, obviously amused by his own predicament.

Irene set Salem down, finally asleep, beside her. "Ahl'Ahnleh Zane." They both laughed.

*****

Danica removed the last scarf from her waist, replacing the dancer's dress with her own clothing quickly. The dancers paid no mind to her as she changed, and she was infinitely grateful. She was still modest, and changing in front of so many could have been a much worse experience had they not been completely comfortable with the notion and unconcerned.

A'isha returned to her side, smiling encouragingly. "You did great Danica. I'm sure it's not going to be much longer until we can actually allow Zane to watch you."

Danica quelled the blush that threatened to spread on her cheeks at the thought of her alistair being present to witness her dancing.

"Oh don't be so modest! I'm sure he's very anxious to see you dance. He wants to dance the Namir'da with you later this year."

"I know." Danica smiled fondly at the mention of the couple's dance that was performed during the festival that would take place in a few months. "We made a deal that if I dance with him, he'll fly with me."

A'isha laughed prettily. "Well then we're going to work extra hard, because that is something I'd very much like to see."

Both women laughed, and when their giggles subsided, A'isha spoke again. "You should go find him now. He came both last night and earlier today to see you. I didn't let him in."

Danica nodded, smiling in amusement at the mischievous grin that mirrored the one she'd directed at Zane earlier. "Thank you A'isha."

"Always, my Naga. I look forward to your next lesson." A'isha lead her to the door and saw her off. A member of the Royal Flight immediately flew down from an invisible perch above the dome, following their Tuuli Thea back to the serpiente palace.

*****

Irene moved quietly down the hall, cradling her sleeping son in her arms. She was about to enter her room when she saw Danica turn the hall, followed by a guard who tailed at a safe, discreet distance to ensure her safety. Irene called quietly, a smile in her voice. "Danica!"

Danica returned the smile, speeding her pace to accost Irene. Her Diente's sister was now like her own sister and they kissed each other's cheeks.

"I hear that you were hard at work in sha'Melay all day." Irene spoke first.

"You heard correctly." Danica answered, the slightly-exhausted slouch in her posture, unimportant before Irene, supporting that fact. "Who told you?"

"Zane did. He was anxious to see you today, but he said that A'isha kicked him out of sha'Melay before he could even get in."

Danica smiled apologetically, rubbing one arm. "Yes, she told me that he came. I felt bad for ignoring him."

"Now don't say that, you weren't ignoring him." Irene thought it better to not disclose the fact that Zane had seen her dancing, and that he'd been more that impressed by her brief show.

"Has he already gone to sleep?" Danica hoped he hadn't, now determined to spend a little time with her mate and give him the attention he'd sought.

"I'm not sure. I don't think so though." She wanted to say that he probably couldn't possibly sleep with what was going through his mind, but for the sake of the avian girl, she held her tongue, simply smiling knowingly.

Danica didn't think on Irene's expression and nodded, offering a soft caress to Salem's forehead before waving quietly to Irene. "Thank you."

"You're welcome. See you tomorrow." She said in a near whisper, releasing one hand to open her door and slip in.

Danica walked back to her own bedroom door, nodding to the avian guard who stood quietly at attention beside it, offering a respectful nod and smile. Danica opened the door, sliding in quietly in case Zane was asleep. But he wasn't, and she observed as he looked up from the book he'd been reading.

Or the book he'd been trying to read anyhow. Zane raised his head to see his smiling Naga, sweeping his gaze over her as if to make sure she was in perfect health.

"Well well, she returns." Zane grinned fondly, setting down the book he'd been making an effort to read and standing. They met each other halfway, hugging and sharing a sweet welcoming kiss.

Danica nodded, hugging him. "Yes. I heard you came looking for me. I'm sorry that I was so long." She sounded genuinely sorry.

"Don't be. I'm sure that A'isha is teaching you a lot." His mind pointed out how much of an understatement that was, considering what he'd seen.

"She is. Look at it this way." She let the hint of a smile shape her expression, pressing another short kiss to his lips. "By the time of the festival, we will most certainly be dancing the Namir'da."

Zane grinned widely, stealing another kiss from his mate. "Oh I can't wait. I wanted to dance it with you this year." He lamented. "But... you didn't know it then, and I doubt you would have danced in front of so many, with me of all people."

Danica released him from her hold, treading over to the closet to retrieve sleep clothes. "I'm sorry that we could not dance. But we will be able to before you know it." She sent a reassuring smile back over her shoulder to him.

Belatedly, she realized that Zane was wearing no more than soft black slacks, no doubt a formality so that she might not walk in on him naked. She tried not to turn away too quickly, quelling the girlish blush that spread across her cheeks. She was still coping with how handsome her mate was and that she did not need to blush when she looked at him. That was her right.

Her thoughts were radically halted when his warm arms wrapped around her waist, jarring her from her thoughts as he spoke heatedly into her ear. "Still blushing Danica...?

"I'm sorry." But her blush did not fade, even as she leaned back into his embrace and nearly dropped the clothes she was holding.

"Don't apologize." His breath feathered against her neck and she could feel her skin tingle at the feel of it. He kissed the fair skin softly, his cobra's fangs brushing against her skin. Danica shivered, though not with fear.

The heat coursing through her was familiar. When they laid down for bed at night, and sometimes when they awoke, Zane would hold her and kiss her and she would feel this way. But always when they were more intimate, though they'd never done more than they were now, she'd feel it more strongly.

Now, Zane slowly turned her in his arms, taking the night clothes she held and tossing them gently onto the bed next to them, holding her forearms as he lowered his mouth to brush against her's, an entreaty. She gently opened her mouth to him, allowing him to deepen their kiss. He did so immediately, their kisses becoming more passionate and heated.

Zane knew that he was slowly maneuvering Danica to their bed. He couldn't help the lust that was roiling in his stomach, sitting impatient for the woman that he now held. She did not protest, though he heard a slight whimper. He disengaged her mouth, looking down at her questioningly, but she shook her head. "It's okay."

He lowered his mouth to her neck again, kissing her gently, not daring to leave a mark. He knew how far his mate's tolerance went, and he doubted she wanted to be bitten by a snake, even if it was him. He lowered her to their bed, urging her back. She followed his lead, not protesting. This was generally where it ended. They'd lay in bed and kiss each other senseless until one of them expressed the need for sleep and reluctantly end it there.

But Zane couldn't. After what he'd seen today, and the way she'd looked at him, blushing appreciation in her eyes, he couldn't simply go to sleep. Knowing that if he didn't stop now, he wouldn't be able to later, he whispered huskily into her ear.

"Danica... please." It was his unspoken plea to let him have her, to allow him the privilege of her love and body. Once they'd reached this point, in which Danica had asked him not stop, but they'd been interrupted by the capture of their assassins, and the moment had been left.

Danica could feel the blush that still tinted her cheeks, but willed it to recede, not wanting to have to be shy before the man she loved, before her alistair and Diente, her mate. Swallowing heavily, she heard the desperation in his tone and knew that it was all he could do to not ravage her right there. Turning her head to capture his mouth, she coiled her arms around his neck, one hand gently tugging on the onyx strands of hair.

Zane felt for a brief moment, pure relief. Relief that she hadn't denied him. But it was trampled a moment later when her knee tentatively bumped against his thigh, painfully near his groin. He looked down at her, his eyes fierce with desire for her and she returned his gaze with an accepting and willing expression of similar desire, the blush on her cheeks no longer of embarrassment but simply of the insatiable heat pounding in her veins.

He at once captured her mouth, his kiss rough and passionate, long past the slow and sweet of their first days of being truly in love. Danica didn't object, rather embraced it, her hand in his hair tugging a little more sharply. Zane's hands wandered down to the white blouse she wore, expertly handling the buttons. It took him only moments to have them undone and pushed the garment open. Danica slid her arms out of it obligingly, letting it fall beneath her.

Zane gazed down at his mate, his eyes wide as if he was beholding her for the first time. She was wearing a camisole beneath the blouse but it was nearly see-through and he had a fairly good view of the skin beneath. He pressed a reverent kiss to her exposed collar bone, nuzzling the skin and nibbling just slightly so that it wasn't alarming, reddening the skin.

His hands now dropped to the tight lambskin slacks she wore, ones he found faintly reminiscent to those he'd seen her in the night he'd snuck to her bedroom with intention to kill. He felt her tense briefly and he raised his eyes to hers. He must have looked desperate, because Danica only giggled softly, kissing his cheek and whispering again. "It's okay."

He unlaced the tie at the front of them, loosening them and pushing the garment down her legs. She kicked them off. He could see a blush of nervous embarrassment returning, and she turned her head away, closing her eyes. Zane smiled, kissing her upturned cheek and nibbling on the ear presented to him, to which she gave a startled whimper. "Don't be shy. You're beautiful."

It must have been reassuring because she slowly turned her head to him again, smiling despite the redness in her cheeks. He found, with some surprise, that his hands nearly trembled as he lifted the camisole off of her. When he'd tossed it away, Danica lay beneath him, naked except for the plain white underwear she still wore. He kissed each exposed breast reverently, aware that any possible foreplay would be kept for another time. Danica was already red faced, and he didn't want her to feel any more embarrassed than she was now.

He mumbled against her skin, nuzzling the hollow between her breasts. "The gods above Danica... you're so gorgeous." He sounded genuinely in awe of her beauty and she couldn't help the smile that graced her lips.

"And you're just as handsome." Zane chuckled at her compliment, sliding up to kiss her mouth again, loving and sweet.

"Why thank you." Her giggles were infectious, even though they might have been from her nerves. Nevertheless, they both lay giggling with each other for a moment, until finally their laughter subsided and Danica watched Zane quietly, her eyes seeming to express what she didn't want to say out loud.

Zane immediately spoke again, kissing her cheek. "I would never hurt you Danica. It's okay."

She smiled after a moment and nodded, admitting quietly. "I know."

Zane finally looked to her last remaining garment and took gentle hold of her hips, lifting her to slide the remaining garment down her legs, which she kicked off with her pants. He gazed down at her, and realized that he, Zane Cobriana of the prestigious Cobriana family, leader of the serpientes and avians alike, was blushing. It did wonders for Danica who smiled and kissed his cheek.

"You're so cute when you blush." She whispered, afraid that raising her voice might break their mood.

Zane grinned foolishly, kissing her for what felt like the thousandth time, though he would gladly have done so a thousand more times. "Any gentleman should have the grace to blush at such beauty."

"Flatterer." She didn't mind being showered by compliments, but Zane didn't usually go so overboard with praise, even if he really did think it.

"I can't help it." He admitted with a small smile.

Danica, realizing he'd succeeded at putting her at ease, finally met his gaze again and spoke almost coyly, her hands on his shoulders. "Well, now that you've thrown my clothes everywhere, I think I've earned the right to throw yours."

"With pleasure." He sat back slightly so that she could undo the clasps at the front of his trousers. She seemed amazingly calm for someone who usually blushed at even the thought of this, and he was even more gratified to realize it wasn't because of avian reserve. When she tugged, he lifted himself so that he could slide his pants off, letting them join Danica's on the floor. However, Zane wore no undergarments; serpientes didn't feel the need for them, considering the slept naked.

No mater how comfortable she was, Danica had to blush at the sight of her mate. She had whatever knowledge she'd learned from her teachers, but she'd never seen a man before and so it was twice as shocking. She heard Zane chuckle and she almost glared at him but decided it wasn't worth being angry over.

Zane felt no embarrassment before her and merely whispered, encouraging. "You can touch me, Danica."

That was even more embarrassing than just looking, but she wanted to be completely at ease and so she reached a tentative hand out to touch him. She pressed two fingers to him, surprised by how soft he felt. She ran them up and down his length, and heard him groan. Looking back to his face, she saw what she thought to be the most beautiful thing ever: Zane's face transfigured in complete blissful abandon.

Danica grew bolder and now wrapped her entire hand around him, stroking him as she had with her fingers. His groan was louder and he pressed his face into her shoulder, inhaling her scent deeply and ground out.

"Gods... Danica..."

She was encouraged further, especially now that he wasn't watching or looking at her and sped her hand a little. Within moments, she could feel Zane panting and she nearly jumped when he grabbed her hand.

"Stop." He panted huskily and before she could ask why, he grinned laboredly, kissing her. "Wouldn't want to leave you out."

Danica, confused, allowed Zane to push her back again. She became nervous once more when he climbed over her, aware that everything that had happened in the past months culminated to this. He gazed down steadily, still panting slightly, but with a comforting smile on his face. He bent his head to kiss her neck, worshiping the skin there and murmuring. "Hold onto me."

She did and she nearly gasped when she felt him pressing into her. She widened her legs, blushing. A whimper escaped her as she slid further into her until he stopped. Though avian, she was still part human and was still a virgin. He murmured huskily. "You can scream."

Danica wasn't quite sure why he'd told her until he drew back slightly, and then thrust hard into her. Splitting pain coiled up her stomach and she screamed, but it was swallowed by Zane's kiss. They didn't want a guard running in to catch them like this. Tears trickled down her face, but Zane held her. He rocked her as she got used to the sensation of being filled and let the pain start to fade. After a few moments, he felt her head shift to look up at him and he kissed her gently.

She nodded after a moment. "O-okay..."

He started to move slowly, his thrusts controlled and gentle, though now that he'd reached this point, the last thing he wanted to do was be slow. But she showed signs of recovery and soon began to meet the gentle thrusts. He took this as permission to speed up a little and did so. She showed no resistance, letting out a moan. Zane quieted his own desperate groans, intent on listening to her. Nibbling her ear, he murmured silkenly. "Moan for me."

Danica could do little more than be reduced to desperate moans and whimpers, her arms around his neck tightly. Zane didn't think he'd heard a more beautiful sound then the moans of the woman beneath him. He sped further, and soon their lovemaking had degenerated into desperate thrusts and cries. Zane knew he wasn't going to hold on much longer, but he knew Danica wasn't either.

Danica found that she no longer felt embarrassed. She was feeling too many other things to feel modest. There was a euphoric feeling that had taken over her senses and the erotic sounds that escaped her own throat and her mate's added to the mix until all she was feeling, seeing and sensing was Zane, thrusting into her, his heart beating quickly with exertion and exhilaration.

There was a moment where Danica felt like everything had stopped. Time, everything, had frozen and she was poised on a cliff, teetering. She fell forward, and time started again, a burst of warmth and extreme pleasure erupting and she cried out, heedless of who might hear.

"Ah, Zane!"

Zane felt his breath hitch as she tightened around him and his fists clenched white. Letting his breath go, he groaned, thrusting hard and jerkily. Her cry was music in his ears and he released his essence into her, burying his seed deep within his precious mate

He could sense her complete exhaustion the moment his mind returned to him. He blinked a few times, focusing his eyes on his mate.

He didn't think he'd seen her more beautiful than she was now. Beneath him, covered in a fine sheen of sweat, panting with a rosy flush on her cheeks, she looked more exquisite and exotic than she ever had. Lowering his mouth, he caught hers, sharing a breathless, satiated kiss with her.

She murmured in complete exhaustion of one who is wholly satisfied. "I love you."

"I love you too." He pressed a kiss to her hair, a gesture he made often.

Thank Anhamirak for this beautiful woman... my hawk, my Danica.

*****

Irene observed her brother as he walked with a bounce in his step down the hall. Extending her neck to watch as he rounded the corner, she quickly went after him, calling out.

"Zane!"

Zane paused and turned, offering a radiant smile to his sister. She caught up with him, linking her arm with her companion's. "You look very happy."

"Oh, but I am." He grinned rakishly.

Irene smiled knowingly, jabbing him in the side. "Now what did I tell you?"

Zane chuckled, tilting his head back before turning his glittering garnet gaze to his sister. "What can I say? Sister knows best."

"Of course she does."

**********

HEY! I hope this was enjoyable. I tried to make it as little OOC as possible but I know that Danica may have been a liiiittle OOC. But then again, how would such a reserved person react to sex? Who knows. Please express your thoughts! Later guys n_n

**New Note: I can't believe people still fav this! I'm very flattered by everybody's praise  I'm glad to know that Hawksong is still being read!

-TIW