Significant Celebrations - Sense

A celebration turned soft and sluggish by three in the morning, friends leaving, alone and in pairs—laughter slipping and fading in the stone of the hallways. Merric and Esmind, still game and singing; Neal's hand on hers, warm and pleased, and Yuki 's fingers on his other arm, a delicate pull that make all of them smile.

"Be good," Kel managed.

Yuki, in Yamani: "I hope he isn't!"

Neal, looking in through the language and wondering at their laughter, tired bewilderment on his face.

"Go on," said Kel. Her words were better now, a little less removed from her voice, with easier echoes. But it still felt strange. "Both of you, go to bed."

Laughter again as they left, spilling out of her warm, and fast. Alanna's hand on her back. "What is it?"

"I love my friends," said Kel. "I...I love my friends." Stronger echoes now. Alanna's hand moved, but not away. Kel felt her skin tighten as fingers shifted up her spine, traced the shape of her skull through her hair. A slow caress. "And, uh, Neal really needs to learn Yamani."

"That's a decision for the Lady Yukimi," the Lioness sounded absent, the energy usually caught in her voice now moving down her arm and into the younger woman's skin. "Every woman should have their secrets."

Not enough air to breathe; too much air to swallow. "Everyone." She breathed.

Alanna snorted. "Well, yes," she said. Brief, full pressure of her palm, fingers curling around the back of her neck. "I was alluding. Secrets being a big part of my early life."

Kel shifted in her chair to look at her, skin aching—arching and unused to callous, there, in the spot that was not quite her neck or back, shoulder or throat. She was soft, there. And Alanna was as flushed as she felt, coppery hair crackling around her face, the silver that showed through dyed by remaining candlelight.

She blushed when she spoke to me. The thought tingled. "I need to go to bed," she said.

A knowing smile. "Can you stand?"

"I don't know."

Alanna's hand moved, taking Kel's own, the other braced beneath her elbow. "Only one way to find out," she said. Kel stood. Alanna braced. The world tilted, shifting and lengthening until Alanna's head barely reached her chest.

"Come on," said the Lioness.


"—I'm assisting." The smile turned inward for a second, eyes darkening. "Don't say you're too big. I did this often enough with Raoul. And that was a lot less fun."

So much to think about, in those words. All slipping away from her. Kel twisted her hands, caught Alanna's properly in hers. They fit there well. She could feel a touch of the other woman on every part of her, and that was making her shiver, now. The world spun less but was all knowing, again. Knowledge of something she could not quite taste or touch or see. Alanna smiled at her, feeling the pressure. "Bless you," she said.

The two of them began to walk. Alanna leading backwards, keeping her hands trapped. Kel laughed. "Oh no," she said. "I think I've been blessed enough already. And tomorrow, I—"

"Tomorrow," Alanna said. "Is then. At risk of sounding profound. Or drunk."

Their own turn to echo in hallways. "You're not drunk!"

"More than you know."

"You said beautiful things." Her own doorway looming, familiar-strange. "But you''re not an old relic."

Alanna's laughter now, too, sharp and soft all at once. She pulled one hand away, the sudden loss of it strange enough to bring a sound up out of Kel. A sound she had never made, to go with the shiveriness. She had a sweetheart, fighting on the border. Cleon, his hair richer than this woman's, though not as bright.

( "Have I told you how much I
love tall women?")

Alanna's hand cupping her cheek, tendons in her wrist taut with the reaching for it. All voices faded from Kel's mind.

"An old legend." Alanna's voice slightly hoarse, now. Must have been all the talking. "Practically the same thing."

"No, you're—" words snagged in her throat, and she found her eyes were closed, lashes brushing Alanna's fingertips. "You weren't there—or, I thought you weren't there, and now you're—"


"—Touching me."

The air was swelling. She was swelling. Lights behind her eyelids and a slow, strange lean into the Lioness's hand. Kel was tightly loose, somehow, until a pulse deep in her belly ripped through both feelings at once.

Her eyes opened. Alanna's were wide, her lip caught briefly between her teeth, coming away wet in the light from wall sconces.

"You meant it all? Everything?"

Alanna's turn to swallow. "The bit about making others uncomfortable..."

"Every last, uh, every bit. Every detail."

"Lady Knight," said Alanna. "I meant every—"

Alanna's gasp felt strange in Kel's mouth, but the heat was of it was what she knew she did not know. Was what she needed, this feeling of lips opening under her own and the sudden, wicked curl of Alanna's tongue around hers. No more words, but surprise turning liquid and ardent, Alanna's hands sliding into her hair and holding her face. Hard. Ardent. Sharp sweetness of teeth on her lower lip. An easy shift to reciprocate, another gasp swallowed down, and the delight of feeling her friend swell through her. No words save knowing, and learning, and yes.

Touching, both of them. Alanna's hands freeing from her hair and running over skin and tunic down to her breasts, so Kel was aware of her own skin straining, and Alanna's reaching, and the three impossible, ridiculous layers between the two. This fumbled touch, and her nipples had tightened, she was all the beat her body set, flood held back through skin. Three layers. Her own hands on this body, Alanna shuddering into her mouth.

One kiss, and Kel's hand curled around her hip, Alanna's shirt untucked and spilling, as long fingers slipped against new skin.

No air to breathe. Too much to swallow. The pressure of a waistband against her fingers made her pull away, though neither woman's eyes could leave the other's face.

No more words.