All characters are the property of Melina Marchetta. This work is written solely for the enjoyment of exploring that world in new ways.

Summary: "Finnikin of the Rock", Missing Scene: The wedding night between the king and queen of Lumatere

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you haven't finished reading "Finnikin of the Rock"

As was tradition, the entire wedding party escorted the newlyweds down the hall to their residence and to their marriage bed. The revelry was punctuated with loving jibes and blessings for their wedding night, as well as pokes in Finnikin's ribs from not only Froi and Lucian of the Monts, but also his own father, the Captain of the Queen's Guard. Finnikin suspected that the Lady Beatriss poked him in the back as well but the smile on her face was too filled with joy for him to give her the same glare he gave the others.

Queen Isaboe and her king retired to their rooms amidst a final cheer from their wedding guests. As the door closed behind them, their smiles changed from jubilant to shy. Isaboe stepped to her husband and slid her hands over his doublet, across his chest and shoulders, and around his neck. Her face aglow with love and happiness that took Finnikin's breath. He pressed his forehead to hers, his eyes smiling back at hers.

"You are so beautiful," he said, leaning in to kiss her. Before he could, there was a raucous banging on their door and laughter.

Lucian's muffled voice was close and carried through the thick door. "I don't hear anything in there. Is trog boy confused?"

Finnikin kicked the door hard and was gratified to hear the Mont curse followed by a louder uproar of laughter from outside that slowly receded as the guards commanded the bridal party to return to the main hall.

Isaboe giggled and stood on her toes to kiss her husband, wrapping his hair into her fingers. Their smiles melted under their kiss as a hunger in them flickered and caught flame, then their hands could not work fast enough. There were too many laces, too many ribbons, too many buttons. A small ripping sound did not deter them or slow them down in order to take care with their wedding finery. It only added fuel to the fire of removing the beautiful barriers.

They gasped between kisses, helping each other disrobe, and neither willing to let the other's lips stray far. Finnikin growled in frustration at the many layers his queen was wrapped in, his fingers growing careless and urgent with her chemise. When he finally separated the ties of her corset and shift and released her, he groaned in relief, burying his lips against her throat. Isaboe pushed his shirt from his shoulders and Finnikin yanked the sleeve from his arm, ripping the final buttons at his cuff in the process.

His lips traveled over her shoulders and breasts. Isaboe wrapped her arms around his head, holding him to her. He dropped to his knees before her and slid the remaining kirtle from her hips. He looked at her body, bared before him for the first time and raised his eyes slowly to her face.

"My Isaboe," he said, his awed words breathy and reverent.

Isaboe cupped his face in her hand. "Yours."

Finnikin gasped at her proclamation and wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her from the ground, moving them to their marriage bed. He placed her gently on the bed and removed his breeches before lying beside her, capturing her lips once more. As his hands discovered her body, he paused over the scar above her breast where she had inflicted the wound that allowed her to escape the massacre in Sarnak. He watched his fingers trace over the ugly pucker of skin and bent his lips to it, sending a silent prayer to the Goddess complete who protected her that day and every day since.

As Isaboe raised her hand to his face and pulled him into a kiss, he grasped her arm and felt the scars of all the times she had cut herself to walk the sleep. He thought of all the pain she had endured, not only her own, but those of all her people. He thought of the reaction the novices had toward him when he held Isaboe's body in his arms after they broke the curse that surrounded their kingdom. She would have felt the attack upon them, too; all of them. The girls were terrified of men after suffering through the abuse of the imposter king and his men. Finnikin remembered what Isaboe had said about poisoning someone who deserved it. He thought of all the cruelty inflicted on her in the past ten years, and here he was about to do the same.

"Her blood will be shed for you to be her king." His hands slowed, his urgency cooled.

As if she knew, Isaboe framed his face in her hands. "Stop thinking." She searched his eyes. "Come back to me." Despite her whispers, she could see his turmoil in the tightness around his eyes and across his brow. She pressed her mouth to his, sliding her tongue along his, sighing softly against his lips. After a moment, she felt his body relax again. His lips moved with hers and his hands resumed their exploration. She tried to slide herself under him, but he resisted and his kisses started to follow his hands.

She trembled when his hand dipped between her legs and gently discovered the secret skin there. When his kisses continued their path down she shivered again with exhilaration knowing what he was going to do. He was waking feelings and sensations in her that she never knew were possible.

Her body rose to his touch, responded to his kiss. She struggled to breathe, clutching at his hair. She knew nothing of the bed they lay in, or the room around them. Her entire world became him in tight clear focus. His kiss was intense: soft and deep, and suddenly urgent as her body writhed. Her sounds spurred him on. Then light blinded her and her body convulsed as she cried out his name, feeling as if she were falling from a great height.

Before she was capable of being fully aware again, he was over her, kissing her mouth, pressing his tongue through her lips. She could taste herself on him. "I love the way you taste," he said against her lips.

With a gasp, her arms wrapped around him, clinging to him as if she were falling again and her legs wound around his waist. His hand fumbled between their bodies, grasping and guiding himself to her. She cried out again as she felt him poised. Finnikin began to shudder with the restraint it took him to keep from hurting her. She arched against him, unaware of what would come next, just knowing that she needed him to feel complete.

Slowly he sank into her with a choked groan. He pressed his forehead against hers, watching her, needing to know when it became too painful, but she placed her heels against him and pulled him into her, crying out against his shoulder as he broke her maidenhead. She stiffened in his arms, gasping against his skin.

"Shh," he said, kissing her temple. "Shh. Tell me when you're ready."

She nodded and waited, trying to breathe through the pain. Finally, she spoke. "Slowly?"

Finnikin nodded and pressed his lips to hers, not kissing, just feeling her breath against his face. He withdrew slightly shuddering at the feeling of her body sliding around his. His advance was slow as he tried his best to be mindful of her body's responses to his. He knew it would be impossible for her to truly enjoy it now. His body, now covered in sweat with his efforts to be gentle, ached for release, wanting to move faster and deeper into her. But when she breathed his name into his ear, he was lost.

Her name was still echoing in their bedchamber when they heard their wedding guests send up a cheer from a distant part of the palace.

Hearts racing and breaths ragged, he collapsed next to her. She gently placed his hand against the beating pulse of her heart, just as she'd done in the barn at the meadow what felt like a lifetime ago. Finnikin held his hand to it, again, until he felt it perfectly matched his. They both wore a little smile, knowing that the other was thinking of the same moment in time.

"You are mine," he sighed.

"I belong to the king," Isaboe said. "I have always belonged to you."

Finnikin woke slowly, reluctantly, not wanting to let go of the dream of her warm lips traveling over his body or her hands softly caressing his skin. He groaned unhappily as the morning sun shown pink through his eyelids. His face pinched to hold onto the dark and keep the dream close, moving his body closer to those dream hands, inhaling deeply, and shifting his hips towards the searching lips.

"Isaboe," he groaned when her lips wrapped themselves tentatively over his tip. He was wide-awake when she kissed him deeper, taking more of him into her mouth. He groaned again, shamefully loud this time. His sleep-fogged brain struggled between needing her to stop and needing her to never stop, ever.

Her mouth was artless but eager. When his hand slipped into her hair, she hummed against him causing him to shiver violently. Isaboe ran her small hands up and down his thighs, as her tongue worked around his length sucking and massaging him. Her fingers curled through the hair between his legs then traced the outline of him.

He tried to stop himself, wanted to stop her, but when her head descended over him again, deeper than before, he could not stop his body from responding. He cried out, the sound a cross between ecstasy, despair and pain.

He was still shuddering and gasping for breath from his orgasm when she looked up at him with a shy triumphant smile on her face. He couldn't help but return it, though it did not touch his eyes. She moved up his body, kissing him as he had kissed her, letting him taste himself on her lips.

"I love the way you taste, too." She whispered his words back to him.

Finnikin smiled lovingly at her, caressing her cheek with the back of his fingers. Though he pulled her close to his body, she could feel her husband withdrawing.


He did not answer. Instead, he kissed her brow and pulled her head to his chest, burying his nose in her hair and breathing deeply.

Isaboe tucked herself closer to him and rested her hand over his heart. She was confused and frightened by his quiet. Had she done something wrong? Was he regretting becoming her king? His fingers traced over her shoulder where she had been branded a slave as a child. Was he unhappy with her body? Her heart began to race in fear. She trapped her bottom lip between her teeth to keep it from trembling.

When she could bear it no longer, she pleaded in a tiny voice. "Please talk to me."

He sighed again and his body seemed to melt in resignation. "You're the queen. I'm so sorry, Isaboe."

Isaboe felt tears sting her eyes at his admission.

"I shouldn't have let you do that," he said.

Isaboe's confusion doubled. "What?"

"I let you debase yourself for my pleasure." The pain in his voice made her raise her head to see his eyes. His expression was filled with guilt and shame. He couldn't meet her gaze.

"Finnikin!" She hated those feelings on his face.

"I've used my queen like a whore."

"No!" She hated those feelings in his voice even more. She grabbed his face and forced him to look at her. "Don't ever feel like that. Not in our marriage bed. I wanted to do that. I wanted to give you that."

Finnikin was shaking his head in her hands. "No, it was selfish of me. Disrespectful."

"Stop it, now," she demanded. "It was none of those things. I wanted it. I wanted it for me as much as for you, Finnikin. It was beautiful. I want to be everything to you. I want to be the answer to your every need." He looked into her face and she rubbed her nose against his. "In this room, in this bed, I want us to belong only to each other. No titles. No protocol. Only Finnikin and Isaboe who love each other." She pressed a tender kiss to his lips. "Your pleasure is something I want for myself, only me. So maybe I'm the one being selfish."

The tightness around his eyes relaxed and he returned her tender kiss.

"Did you enjoy kissing me," she asked timidly, "in that way?"

Finnikin nodded. "Yes. Very much."

"No one judges us in this room, my love," she whispered. "Don't think of what is right or proper for a king and queen. I am your wife, and you are my beloved husband." She slid her cheek along his and pressed her lips to his ear. "And I want to make you come apart like that again, and again. And again."

His gasp whispered against her own ear as his arms tightened around her. "No titles, you say?"

"Mmm," she hummed, nibbling his ear.

"We could pretend to be the peasant farmer and his bride?" Finnikin suggested.

He could feel Isaboe smile against his ear. "Evanjalin?"

"I could fetch some marigolds for your hair," he said.

"Or we could argue about what to buy, a horse or a barn."

Finnikin pulled his queen over him. "I don't want to argue."

"I don't want you to leave this bed to fetch marigolds." She pressed her hips against his.

They smiled at each other. "I suppose," Finnikin said, "that leaves us with simply holding each other fiercely."

Isaboe kissed him, holding her palm against his cheek. "And never letting go."