Title: Love's Pure Flame

Author: Janine

Fandom: Kushiel's Legacy

Pairing: Phèdre nó Delaunay/Melisande Shahrizai

Rating: NC-17

Words: 2,230

Warning(s): mild BDSM.

Disclaimer: I don't own them.

Summary: An interlude between Phèdre and Melisande during Kushiel's Dart between Baudoin's birthday and the encounter at the palace that changed things between them forever.

xxx

Desire is Love's pure flame.

- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Quietly, unobtrusively, I slipped from the party and turned towards the stairs that would take me down to the cellar. Delaunay's guests were drinking like sailors newly rescued from a desert isle and I anticipated that new bottles of joie would soon be badly needed. It had been quite some time since I had served at a gathering, in fact it was the only time since my first assignation, but I had not forgotten how to attend, nor how do it well.

My eyelashes fluttered as I descended the stairs and a soft sigh escaped from my lips as the cool air of the cellar caressed my over-heated skin. The main room where the guests were gathered was so balmy with the heat of the bodies amassed that it had become moist and it was a blessing to escape, if only for a few minutes.

I began to hum softly as I walked down the row, idly running my finger across the frame of the polished wooden rack, half-hoping to find a catch so that I could feel the sharp pain of a splinter. However, soon after I began my search for the joie I heard a faint squeak behind me and my body tensed as my hand stilled and the tune I had been humming came to an abrupt end.

"Phèdre."

A shiver ran through me.

The sound of my name flowing from her lips was like water tricking down my spine and I breathed in sharply as my head became foggy and my body instantly warmed.

Melisande.

"What a happy accident to find you here … all alone," Melisande drawled, the last step on the stairs leading to the cellar squeaking softly again as she moved off of it completely, her left foot gracefully touching the ground before she started towards me. "I had hoped to see you, to speak with you. But you've been a ghost this evening."

"I'm attending," I replied breathily, knowing it was a ridiculous thing to say since that would have been quite clear to her, but my mind never functioned at its fullest capacity when Melisande was nearby and it was the best I could do. "Nothing makes one feel more at home when visiting another's than being served by hands that dwell there," I continued, my voice catching more than once as I stiltedly parroted the words Delaunay had spoken to me that afternoon.

"Well said, Phèdre," Melinsande responded smiling, her sapphire eyes sparking with amusement. "And happily met," she continued in that honeyed-voice of hers.

By the time she came to a stop in front of me I was already had me faint of breath.

"Oh, what services these hands can provide," Melisande whispered, grinning at me cheekily before she reached for my hand and lifted it to her lips, placing the softest of kisses upon the back of it.

It was a chaste kiss, unbelievably gentle, but the merest touch from Melisande had a way of undoing me and the feel of her lips on my skin made me shudder with desire.

"As you say my lady," I whispered breathily, my voice as soft as a mouse's sigh.

Melisande laughed.

Her voice was airy and light, entirely delightful, and I found myself swaying towards her, wanting nay needing to be closer to her, to be nearer to her wicked mouth and the pleasures and pains it could bring.

At that moment I yearned for her so desperately that it hurt, which only made me hunger for her more.

I was light-headed and desperate and on the verge of taking drastic action, but before I could move, Melisande angled my hand to the side and took my finger between her lips, sucking on it lightly until I could not help but moan.

When my ecstatic exhalation filled the air around us, Melisande bit down on the soft flesh of my finger, her sharp, beautiful, ivory teeth clamping down harder and harder until I gasped and arched my body towards her, practically throwing myself into her arms.

"Phèdre," she murmured staring into my eyes, her voice equal parts affection and amusement. "I've missed you too," she breathed out playfully, and my cheeks coloured prettily which put a smile to Melisande's lips.

"I," I gasped, still blushing, even though I knew it amused her endlessly to see me in such a state and I wished desperately that I could stop.

"I know," she purred, gifting me with one last teasing smile before she bent her head and brought her lips to mine.

My body immediately wilted into her arms and I felt her smile into our kiss as I collapsed against her, clutching at her tightly, needing to feel her body, strong and steady in front of me as a powerful wave of desire tore through me.

I lost myself then, in the feel of her body against mine, in the heat of her mouth, in the stroking of her conquering tongue. I deliciated in the faint heat of her breath on my skin and in the possessive weight of her hand on my hip.

I lost myself in Melisande, and just as I started to think that I would fall so deeply into her that I would be lost forever, Melisande's lips clamped down on my bottom lip.

Pain blossomed inside of me, wetness pooled between my legs, and my body trembled. She bit further, her teeth puncturing the flesh of my lip and rending it. The taste of blood filled my mouth, and I moaned loudly, wantonly, and clutched desperately at the material of her dress, holding her against me as my eyes slipped shut. I whispered, "More," and Melisande bit me again, sending a fresh wave of blood into my mouth as I whimpered with need of her.

She pulled away from my lips suddenly a few seconds later, laughing when I gasped at the loss of her.

Instinctively, I surged forward, intent on recapturing her lips, but she held me asunder as I trembled, aroused beyond reason.

"Please," I whimpered desperately, aching, throbbing for her touch and the pain and pleasure I knew it could bring me. "Melisande," I mewled, pressing myself against her, desperately seeking friction.

"There is no contract," Melisande breathed out as she drew her hands down my torso.

My muscles jumped and twitched under her hands in anticipation of more contact, firmer contact, crueler contact, and when she settled her hands on my hips I bucked against her needfully.

"Buy one. I'll accept," I breathed out, half mad with desire as I attached my lips to her neck and began to suck and nip anxiously at the soft, pale column of her throat.

"As if you could do anything else," Melisande drawled teasingly.

"Please," I gasped, repeating the word that flowed from my lips more than any other when my vision was red and Kushiel's blessed face swam before me, "I'll buy it for you," I said deliriously making Melisande laugh again.

"You know Phèdre, I do believe you would," Melisande husked, and then, as if to reward me for wanting her so desperately – so shamelessly – she slipped her hand underneath the material of my dress and dug her nails viciously into the soft flesh of upper thighs, carving bloody crescent moons into my skin.

Her lips parted and her breath hitched as my eyes widened and I breathed in sharply, and when she raked her nails down my thigh making my skin burn as her nails carved bloody trails in my flesh, I cried out helplessly and tears of pleasure leaked from my eyes.

Her lips moved as she wounded me so exquisitely, but I was too far gone to make complete sense of what she was saying, though I do remember hearing, "Oh Phèdre," and "glorious".

"We shouldn't," Melisande said when I had somewhat regained control of myself. "Anafiel would be so disappointed were he to find out."

Even as I throbbed and dripped in anticipation of her touch, I knew she really meant 'will be' not 'would be' and 'when I tell him' not 'were he to find out', and I knew she was right about the disappointment that would be in his eyes when he next looked at me. I knew this, but I was beyond caring. With Melisande so close to me I was beyond rational thought, I was beyond consideration of anything besides thoughts of her fingers inside of me and her nails scrapping against my inner-walls.

"Please," I whispered.

"So be it," Melisande murmured.

Her left hand trailed behind my neck, caressing the skin there softly before she drew her fingers up into my hair and then used the dark mane to tug my head back, pulling the muscle of my neck so taut it burned.

She trailed her nails over the soft skin of my inner thigh and then drew them up between my legs, drawing a gasp from me as her fingers brushed over the damp strip of cloth that covered Naamah's garden.

She teased me with light strokes, mocking me with the promise of firmer, harder touches until I was shaking like a newborn calf against her, and only when I threatened to fall apart in her arms did she slip her fingers beneath the material at covered Naamah's garden and slide inside of me.

"Phèdre," she breathed out, and I clenched around her fingers, trying to draw them further inside of my, trying to keep her trapped within me forever.

"Phèdre," she sighed, and I pressed my face against her chest, my hot breath warming her skin as I panted against her.

"Phèdre," she husked, and tears streamed from my eyes as clutched at her, my nails digging into the material of her dress.

"Phèdre," she whispered and I looked up at her with wide-eyes awaiting her command. "Spend."

The word was no louder than a whisper, but it filled my ears and the entire world was Melisande, so that with her fingers moving inside of me as gently as an adept of Balm's, I obeyed and came to a trembling climax in her arms.

When my body stopped shaking enough that I no longer needed Melisande to support me, she drew her fingers from beneath my dress and pressed the damp tips to my mouth. I parted my lips, and sighing contently, I took her fingers into my mouth and obediently sucked the evidence of my passion from them as Melisande stroked my hair.

I slipped back into the party as unobtrusively as I had left it, but Delaunay had noted my extended absence and his eyes found me almost the moment I entered the room.

I knew it unwise to meet his eyes, but feeling his gaze upon me I couldn't help but look up and a second after our eyes met his gaze dropped to my swollen, bloody lip and a look of disappointment settled over his lovely features that made my heart despair.

He turned away from me a second later, and as instinctively as his eyes had found me when I entered the room, my guardian's gaze found Melisande's. They regarded each other from across the room for a moment and then Melisande's eyes slid over to where I was standing. She watched me for a second, and my breath came faint, but before my heart could skip more than a single beat she returned her attention to Delaunay and a large, delighted smile touched her lips.

I was too far away to hear the exhalation, but Delaunay's shoulders sagged minutely and I knew that had sighed upon seeing her smile. Melisande's smile grew even wider upon seeing his weary expression, and then she was in motion, crossing the distance between them before kissing Delaunay on the cheek and then tilting her head up to whisper somewhat to him.

After a brief exchange with Melisande – and a pointed look back at me – Delaunay moved into the crowd towards a Chevalier who was gesturing to him and I knew that I would be dealt with later.

Melisande's eyes caught mine as Delaunay moved away from her, and when they did the noise and heat of the party began to fade away from me like a dream at mornings first light. Melisande began to fill my mind; her eyes, her lips, the sound of her laugh, her porcelain skin. Melisande, Melisande, Melisande, until the very world around me ceased to exist but for her.

Instinctively I began to walk towards her, needing to be close to her again, but before I had taken more than a few steps Melisande turned away from me abruptly to smile winsomely at Cecile Laveau-Perrin who she then began to engage in conversation.

With the link between us temporarily severed my mind started to clear and after taking a few deep, calming breathes I disappeared into the crowd, resuming my duties.

"Are you alright?" Alcuin asked me somewhat later in the evening during a brief lull in the festivities.

"Fine," I murmured, knowing that he would know it for a lie the moment the word passed my lips. "Is he very mad?" I asked a moment later, speaking of Delaunay as I anxiously chewed on my bottom lip, only stopping the nervous action when I felt a stirring between my legs and realized that I had reopened the wound Melisande's teeth had made on my lip.

"No, not mad," Alcuin responded diplomatically, drawing a blush to my cheeks as he watched me out of the corner of his eye with knowing eyes, not at all confused as to why I had suddenly stopped biting my lip.

When my cheeks had cooled, I sighed despondently. I never knew whether it was my anguisette nature at work or not, but Delaunay's anger was always much easier for me to deal with than his disappointment.

"Melisande," I sighed by way of explanation a moment later and Alcuin nodded in understanding.

A short while later, Alcuin was called away and with no immediate activities to occupy my mind, it turned to consideration of Melisande – as it so often did.

Melisande, Melisande, Melisande. My thoughts were dipped in honey like her voice, and even as my lip still throbbed with the pain of the injury she had done to it that very night, I longed for her again, already aching for our next encounter.

The End