feelinglikecleopatra
feelinglikecleopatra
FeelingLikeCleopatra
25. she/her. part-time waitress, sometime writer: masterlist. ao3. multi-fandom, chaos, eros, and politics. cw: i have a potty mouth and it spills into my tags—beware.
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Spuhura - Star Trek Ongoing Issues 1-4
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alright this sounds nuts but i read your latest fic while i had to evacuate my dorm building because of a fire so like thank you for helping me cope i guess <3
oh man, i hope the fire was contained/not too serious! i’m so glad i could be of service :))
forgetting about the nature of the fic (lol) this is actually v sweet, thank *you* for reading and for send me this!
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feelinglikecleopatra · 2 days ago
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// brendan adams
+ instagram + twitter
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feelinglikecleopatra · 2 days ago
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you know, kaz lies all the time about his past. the kind of bastard they only manufacture in the barrel. as if being barrel born and bred would make him meaner somehow, as if little boys who have only ever known poverty and violence would be the worst of them. when, in reality, the fact that he knew safety, that he knew what it meant to be rich, not in wealth but in love, is what makes him so ferocious, so hungry.
it’s kaz’s sense of justice, of having had something taken from him, that makes him the meanest bastard in the barrel. righteous and justified. there is nothing petty or thoughtless or hopeless about him, he is pure conviction. both a rock and a hard place, with the world caught in between.
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feelinglikecleopatra · 2 days ago
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an alternate color version of some linework i posted a long time ago bc i miss them
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feelinglikecleopatra · 2 days ago
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when it stops being a joke
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fandom: six of crows / kaz brekker x inej ghafa
word count: 8,587
rating: M
c/w: some mention of inej at the menagerie.
summary: just a pegging fic set in my modern au. that's it, that's the tweet.
AO3
thank you times a million to @xandrei for beta reading this behemoth and for planting the seed of this idea in the first place.
~
kaz joked once, lighthearted and blurry-minded, watching jesper spin an empty whiskey bottle on the table between them, about getting fucked, about letting inej fuck him. it was a joke.
it was a joke but that didn't stop it from doing somersaults, skillful, memorable somersaults in his head.
their intimacy was still only rudimentary. inej was battling her demons, still shaking free of heleen’s claws. dancing again, though, to kaz's great relief, and it was doing wonders for her self-esteem. meanwhile, he was seeing dr. bas. a therapist based in a wealthy part of town; well-educated and expensive. it was helping, kaz was almost sure.
there were days he felt himself slipping, taking one step forward and then sliding three steps back. this was, the doctor assured him, all part of the process.
recovery looked like winter nights in inej’s arms. in the cold, sleeping fully clothed was tolerable. with the window open and the covers pulled all the way up, they wrapped themselves in each other and slept blissfully. if kaz awoke hard, from the warmth of inej curled against his back, her breath tickling the nape of his neck, he found ways to satisfy himself.
in the summer, they slept with a foot between them. him in his underwear, inej in his t-shirt—nothing but his t-shirt.
once, in a moment of panting desperation, kaz had gathered inej into his lap, hands on her clothed waist and helped her ride his thigh. the damp heat of her through their clothes had set his nerves aflame. that day, sitting at his desk in the late afternoon sun, kaz had learned some of the sounds inej made when it was him bringing her over the edge.
still, being naked together almost always ended in one or both of them shivering and dry-heaving into the toilet. there was just so much skin-on-skin contact involved in sex . maybe, and this was something they'd talked about, sex just wasn't for them. maybe that was a part of life they'd never get to experience with each other.
kaz tried to be okay with that. he really did.
his problem was, he wanted it very much, and if that time she’d gotten herself off on his thigh said anything, so did inej.
because the thing was, she made him so fucking hard. not all the time, not in a way he couldn't manage, that they couldn't manage together, but between that and the desire to be the one to make her come, it was enough. enough for him to want to fight this, to find the lever that would tip things in their favour. he wanted to share that with her.
that wasn’t to say they hadn’t gotten adventurous, no. they did plenty of other things. watching inej touch herself, sliding those slender fingers inside herself and telling him all about it, was fast becoming one of his favourite things.
ultimately though, he couldn’t stop thinking about it—letting inej fuck him—and so, it stopped being a joke.
it would work, he was sure of it. sure because, as with most things, he’d done his research. they could do it with minimal skin-on-skin contact, it would allow kaz to safely relinquish control and inej to take it.
after much consideration (and several very specific dreams) it was clear he’d really, really enjoy it.
in the end, it took him five weeks to work up the courage to suggest it to inej. when he did, they were lying in bed, with kaz on his belly in the bracket of her legs. his face was pressed into the space between her breasts, words muffled by the fabric of her t-shirt.
eyes closed and throat dry, kaz mumbled, "i've been thinking."
"what?" inej was playing with his hair, enjoying the warmth of his breath against her and the weight of him between her thighs.
reluctantly, he tilted his head to the side. "i said, i've been thinking."
"oh, saints, watch out! kaz brekker's been thinking!"
kaz listened to her laugh at her own joke, ear pressed to the place it rose from, deep in her chest, and scrunched his eyes shut.
"i—" these words were not going to come out.
"kaz." there was a note of concern in her voice now. "what is it?"
almost absently, inej scratched and kneaded his shoulder blades, blunt nails biting through his shirt. the touch was distracting.
"it was just something i was talking to jesper about, well, joking really—we, he mentioned how once he—um, how he'd—"
maybe the bed would open up and swallow them both.
before anyone or anything had the chance to answer this unspoken wish, inej tugged on his hair to get him to look at her. propped on his elbows and back bent, he saw all her concern and quiet exasperation—he hadn't been this incomprehensible in a long time.
flopping back down, this time hands digging into the flesh of her hips and face pressed into her belly, kaz said, "i think i want to try pegging."
the silence that followed was completely unbearable.
somewhere, on the street in front of their apartment building presumably, a man was shouting obscenities. a car alarm wailed and stopped. the wind rattled their old sash window frames.
inej's hands had gone still, resting at the base of his neck. beneath him, he could feel her heart—a quiet patter.
cautiously, kaz looked up.
well, she didn't look like she was going to toss him out of bed. he counted that as a victory.
"inej?"
slowly, blinking those big, dark eyes of hers, she looked down at him. though he considered himself somewhat of an expert in inej's emotional palette, this—whatever this was—he couldn't decipher.
"sorry—sorry, i just. you want to try pegging?" her brows furrowed. "you want me to peg you?"
slowly, kaz moved one of his hands from her hips to her hand, threading their fingers together.
"i've been thinking about it."
"you've been thinking about it."
"yes." this conversation, however absurd, deserved a degree of sincerity. "how—how does that make you feel? what do you think?"
"i think... i think i didn't know you knew what pegging was."
kaz couldn't help his startled laugh. his whole body shook with the force of it. half this hysteria (and that's what it is) was relief, he knew, but laughing felt good and so did inej.
her hands were moving again, slower, more deliberate.
"how long have you been thinking about this?"
"a while."
"a while?" her voice was quiet, distant. it sounded like she was smiling. "you said you were talking to jesper about this. did he suggest it?"
"no, actually... he did think it was a good idea, though. said i ‘ could do with a good fucking.’ "
now it was inej's turn to laugh.
the silence returned after, but it was less pent, more promising.
into the quiet, inej said, "i think i'd like to try."
"really?" abruptly, kaz perked up, hands on her thighs.
bright eyed, inej laughed at him, nodding.
"i thought you'd take more convincing."
"oh," she cocked her head. "did you have a whole speech prepared?"
"yes."
"i'm sorry, it just didn't seem like it when you could barely get your words out."
she could be quite vicious when it suited her. kaz couldn't be more in love.
"my darling inej, how you wound me."
"go ahead, give me all the reasons."
"well," he started. "we could do it more or less fully clothed, you'd be in—um—control, and i'm curious."
"curious, huh?"
she was impossibly warm beneath him, warm and small and soft. the feeling of her and the tilt of the conversation had begun a simmer in his blood, a liquid heat threatening to drive him out of his own skin.
resting on one elbow while kneading her thigh, kaz said, "i figured our little problem might benefit from some lateral thinking."
"how romantic, my beautiful problem solver." inej's eyes glittered as she said this. "come here."
cupping the back of his neck, inej tugged him up the bed. to relieve the pressure on his knee and take his weight off her, kaz moved to lie on his side next to her.
hand flat against her belly, he let her drag his head down for a kiss.
kissing was still a novelty. the first thing he remembered thinking was that it was wetter than he'd have guessed. tongues and teeth and teasing breath. of course, he had no objections. inej's mouth tasted of peaches and sea salt and he'd never have his fill.
they pulled apart with a wet smack and kaz moved to trail open-mouthed kisses to the corner of her mouth, over her chin, down her neck. all the while, his hand walked meandering paths up and down her leg. inej was slender, his hand easily spanned the width of her upper thigh, but leanly powerful. he had such fantasies about all the things they might do.
with a small movement, the thigh he didn't have his hands all over was pressed between his own legs, pushing against his length—already straining under his clothes. kaz groaned into her neck and rolled his hips against her before he could stop himself.
"kaz." inej whined when he smoothed his hand up her thigh and cupped her over her leggings.
so hot . imagining what it might feel like to push into her, to feel all that wet heat wrapped around him was a kind of self-flagellation. everyday he thought he was getting farther from ever experiencing it.
just then she ground down against his hand and whimpered, high and thready, in the back of her throat. the sound mercifully pulled him from his thoughts. the way she was grinding against him made him think their conversation hadn't just affected him. she liked the idea of fucking him too. saints and if that wasn't just the most delicious thought.
here began the tug-of-war between his desire to take off every stitch of clothing and be with the girl of his dreams and the knowledge that to do so would send him careening twenty years back in time. he knows the water would rise and he’d be back there, on the worst night of his life, the bloated texture of his dead brother's skin beneath his hands. it felt as though, some days, it would tear him apart. in the tumble of such overwhelming physiological responses, what did kaz's wants matter? he could barely articulate them after all. could barely form a thought around his intermingled fear and arousal.
what he needed , he realised with startling clarity, with inej's whispered encouragements dragging him closer and closer to release, was for her to take him, to tell him what to do and how, to tell him what she needed and make him give it.
this need, as yet unarticulated, rang in his head with bell-like clarity. that, combined with inej's hand directing his own to stroke her just right, pulled a vision-whitening climax from him.
the aftermath of this kind of fumble was not unfamiliar. in fact, kaz had once come in his pants while inej gave him a lap dance.
as always, on such occasions, his underwear was now uncomfortably wet, clinging to him horribly. doubly unfortunate, the sweet lassitude that only came with recent release kept him horizontal, not at all motivated to rectify the situation.
blessedly, inej seemed equally disinclined to move from their prone position.
"well—" inej laughed.
kaz hummed and tilted his head to look over at her. her hair was still in its customary braid, only now rather dishevelled, strands coming loose and curling on the white pillowcase. there was something effortless about her then, lazy and relaxed.
his heart was an open wound and he was content to let it bleed for her.
“i guess i need to go shopping.”
this felt like a non-sequitur. “what?”
with a crooked smile that almost made him feel like he was looking in the mirror, inej turned to him. she walked a hand up his chest and tapped his nose. it was uncharacteristically absurd behaviour.
“ someone just asked—with a lot of prevarication—me, a penis-less person, to fuck them with the nearest equivalent of a cock. and since i don’t already possess the appropriate equipment, i thought i’d go on a little shopping spree. unless you own a collection of strap-ons i wasn’t aware of? where do you keep them? the linen closet, maybe?” she swung herself around to peer at the floor. “under the bed?”
in the unfolding of that little speech, kaz felt a quite unfamiliar heat prickle over his skin. this was almost certainly the most embarrassing conversation he’d ever had and inej was enjoying it entirely too much.
saints , he was probably blushing.
“oh, you’re so cute when you’re flustered.”
inej was the only person he would allow to laugh at him and that was mostly because her laugh was his favourite intoxicant.
before he tripped and fell into any other humiliating conversations, kaz rose to go clean himself up. inej was still snickering to herself on the bed while he was dumping his pants into the hamper.
~
west stave.
there were days, still, when inej couldn’t even come to this part of town.
it wasn’t that this is where she was kept when she was brought to ketterdam. no, that had been some crummy apartment with windows that looked out at nothing, an empty fridge, and doors that locked from the outside.
it was the men. what made her skin crawl walking through ketterdam’s red light district were the men that frequented it.
they never looked happy. not truly. not happy the way she was happy with the thread of a good song in her head, or with nina devouring more waffles than they could pay for, or with kaz unbraiding her hair at night. some looked happy in that gleeful, glint-eyed, slimy kind of way—the worst way. some looked obliquely, temporarily satisfied. but none of them seemed truly content.
she felt their gaze like pinpricks on her skin; that power they had to make an object of her. once upon a time she had been nothing more than set dressing, a prop to be used and discarded, unwanted for anything but someone else’s short, meaningless pleasure. how easy, she thought, it would be for her to become such a thing again.
knowing herself and anticipating this maudlin train of thought, inej came in the middle of the day. navigating such haunted streets under a drab, grey sky was, if not fun, at least tolerable. of course, she could have looked online for the things they needed but she’d always been a big believer in trying, or in this case, seeing, before buying.
the place she was looking for, not-so-subtly called breathless, had great reviews and was located on the very edge of west stave, which was a mark in its favour as far as inej was concerned.
between other stores of its ilk—all dressed in red and black and glittering gold—it stood out. in fact, the colour palette was quite unexpected. the building’s facade was a clean, powder blue, with white accents and balustrades. the shop window looked into an open plan display room washed in soft pastel shades at front, darkening to more robust colours toward the back. one reviewer had praised the store’s accommodating such a range of tastes. it was clear immediately what they had meant.
the small silver bell above the door tinkled faintly as inej entered. the sound was oddly calming, so at odds with all the dark, miserable gremlins haunting her.
every aisle in the boutique boasted an impressive array of toys, lingerie, and accessories. inej ran her hand through a shimmering display of babydolls and bit her lip thinking about kaz’s reaction to her in one of them. there were garter belts and crotchless panties and stockings in a satin so fine they were almost perfectly sheer. again, she thought of what kaz’s reaction would be, an attempt to ward off the demons nipping at her heels.
despite all this, the past made an unwelcome appearance anyway.
some of the toys, out of the corner of her eye she spied crops and paddles, made her hair stand on end, goosebumps prickling her skin. equally unwelcome sense memories, barked orders and stinging punishments, locked her knees. panic was a gaping mouth in the floor and it swallowed her whole.
suddenly, standing in the middle of this shop, inej couldn’t breathe. she had just enough space left to think, how ironic.
the ragged, rasping breaths she was taking were going absolutely nowhere. there was no air, nothing. everything felt numb and cold; she felt empty and terrified. the edges of her vision were whitening, fading out. and although she recognised this as the preamble to unconsciousness, there was nothing she could do about it.
a gentle hand, feather light against her arm, pulled her a fraction of the way out of paralysis. just enough to take a breath that didn’t feel worthless, that went somewhere. the stranger pushed a paper bag into her hand and coaxed her to raise it to her face. then, she heard whoever it was telling her to breathe too—into the bag, preferably.
by the time inej could make sense of her thoughts again, she was sitting, head between her knees, the same stranger—she was almost sure—perched beside her. they kept enough distance to avoid touching her but didn’t sit so far as to feel withholding. the offer of touch was there.
“how’re you feeling?” the voice was accent-less and smooth.
inej focused on the stranger’s shoes, spotless, patent black, red-bottom stilettos, and took three more deep breaths before answering. “better. thank you.”
“that’s quite alright, my dear. these things happen. would you like me to call someone?”
“no, no, i’ll be alright. i just need a minute.”
“take all the time you need.”
inej expected the stranger to get up and leave but they stayed seated, crossed one shapely leg over the other and reclined back, apparently prepared to wait with her. that almost made her cry, tears threatening out of sheer relief of not having to do this alone.
“you don’t have to wait with me, i’m okay, really.”
“it’s no skin off my back. and besides, i’m always happy to wait with anyone who comes to my store and feels anything other than delicious, so i can rectify the issue.”
“oh, this is your store?”
“that’s right.”
the two of them were silent for a moment. gradually, the nausea and breathlessness passed. inej sat up and gave the shopkeeper a wobbly smile.
“there you are.” they returned the smile with one of their own. “well, aren’t you a beauty—if you don’t mind my saying. the name is sem.”
“inej.” they shook hands after inej wiped a still-sweaty palm on her slacks.
the shopkeeper, sem, had the kind of soft face inej had always envied, heart-shaped and pretty. their hair was long and ash-blonde, falling to their waist in a curtain of frothy waves. with their wide shoulders and height—they were looking down at inej even while seated—they felt sturdy, immovable at her side.
“now, i believe you were interrupted in the middle of what looked like an important and quite tantalising mission. may i be of assistance?”
“oh, i don’t know… i…”
“rest assured, i have heard and seen it all.”
“well…” she could do with the help, she thought. “actually, i was looking for—um—a strap-on.”
“delightful!” sem’s light eyes sparkled as they flashed a grin. “why don’t you tell me the kind of thing you’d like to do with one and i can bring over some of my recommendations? that way you won’t have to wander around the store—which can be a bit hazardous, i admit.”
finding everything she needed took two hours but, sem insisted, these things took time and her diligence was to be rewarded.
afterwards, explaining her tardiness for her lunch date with jesper was an exercise in tactical evasion she hadn’t wanted or needed. it wasn’t at all clear whether or not he believed any of her half-baked excuses but, he hadn’t pried the truth out of her either so inej left with her (and kaz’s) dignity intact.
~
two days later, at nine bells in the morning, the package arrived.
inej had paid extra for delivery to avoid the nightmare of carrying her purchases  to lunch.
she took the package from the delivery man without making eye-contact. there was no way he knew what was inside but somehow inej knowing was enough to make her whole body flush.
back inside their apartment, far from prying eyes, inej tore into the box, with its profusion of fuchsia tissue paper. by the time she’d unwrapped every item, the bed was littered with fluttering glitter in the shape of genitalia—vulvas and penises of all varieties.
among the items scattered across their downy, navy blue coverlet was a small, tulip-shaped bottle of lube, two plugs of different sizes, and a vibrator that could, if the want struck, be attached to the harness of their new strap-on. sem was both exceedingly judicious and meticulous in their consideration of their clientèle's needs.
inej was, in the middle of getting changed out of her leotard, thinking about that vibrator. the day had been long, but in a pleasant, languorous sort of way. if it were going to be like any other day it would end with a bowl of bolognese, a glass of red wine, and waiting for kaz over the one-thousand-piece puzzle they were currently working on. now though, she was thinking about that vibrator.
dinner came together absently, heated on the stove as her favourite record, stuck on a hairline, played the same few notes over and over again. inej always kept the lights low in the apartment—she did not need to see the stain just above the skirting-board or the dead fly in the corner of the windowsill. suddenly, thinking about lying back in her bed, panties tangled around one ankle, one hand on her breast and the other between her legs, the lights seemed intimate rather than simply comfortable.
she stirred salt into the sauce and drained the spaghetti, steam billowing out of the sink like a damp kiss. the hair on her skin rose with delicious anticipation. everything felt raw, sensitive as she forked pasta into a bowl and spooned sauce over it.
saints .
she didn’t think she’d ever been this turned on, just by herself, before. something about it felt illicit, furtive.
pasta . she was making pasta.
that was how kaz found her. he was home early, coming through the door with a groan and the smell of wet leaves. autumn was well underway. all of this was only making things worse. scents moist and warm and safe, sounds familiar and wanting and wanted. inej was coming apart with need over a bowl of spaghetti.
standing very close behind her, kaz said, “that smells good.”
inej started, hand over heart. there was nothing that should have been startling about this—she’d heard him enter and heard him approach, had felt him behind her, but she was walking a tightrope over nothing but desire.
“you okay?” kaz looked amused. his eyes flicked over her face in that way of his. then, tentatively, he raised a hand to her cheek. “you look—flushed.”
“i’m fine. it’s nothing.” the bowl was very warm in her hands, the grain of the ceramic unfinished, textured. she rethought her words. “actually, i want to show you something.”
one of kaz’s dark eyebrows arched as he watched her put down the bowl.
curling a hand in his, inej tugged him out of the kitchen-dining room. he was too delighted, too swept up in her sudden haste to question her motives, however bizarre. they made their way past living room, bathroom, and guest room. their apartment wasn’t big but it was light and well-furnished, all wood floors and splashy, colorful zemeni rugs. when they got to their bedroom, inej flicked on a light in the corner. its shade was a happy mosaic of coloured glass, washing the whole room in reds and yellows and deep blues.
crouching, inej tugged a box with the word breathless stamped on it’s lid from under the bed. it was a deep turquoise in colour and completely foreign to kaz.
“what’re you up to, ghafa?”
she traced an idle finger over the top of the box, head tilted. “i went shopping.”
there was, of course, only one thing she could be referring to.
“oh?” by the colour rising in his face, the question communicated a degree of calm he was rapidly losing.
inej hummed, nodding. “would you like to see what i bought?”
“i thought we were having dinner.”
“we can, if you like. or i can show you what i bought.”
there was a challenge in her gaze. inej had caught him unawares, unprepared, and there was nothing kaz brekker found more inciting than being caught without a plan. even from across the bed, inej thought she could see his pulse in his throat.
“show me.”
inej smiled, slow and teasing—the full spread, all teeth. quietly added to her earlier images of distressed sheets, hastily removed clothes, and brand new vibrators was the image of kaz, watching her.
dinner went cold in the kitchen.
~
this was nothing like anything they’d ever done before. either of them. and that was saying something.
sprawled across the bed he shared with inej, kaz was lying on his front. at some point the top three buttons of his shirt had come undone and his cuffs had been rolled up. he was also still wearing his trousers and underwear, though these had been unceremoniously tugged down around his thighs.
murmuring soothing nonsense, inej was teasing him. the cool metal tip of the plug was slippery with lube and cold, but warming gradually.
generally, kaz had come to accept that inej had experience , though it made him see red to think about. he had also gotten over his initial discomfort at being so out of step with her, knowing so little about bodies, lust, and pleasure. as a teenage boy, he’d had his fumbles, but there was something about being curled up on his bed furiously stroking himself that made him cringe. it was such a vulnerable, even atavistic, position. it hadn’t occurred to him until much later that his substitute, violence, was just as primal, just as basic in origin.
his fists were clenched in the sheets; the anticipation threatening to undo him.
a firm hand, pressed to the small of his back, reminded him to, “relax.”
“i am relaxed,” he said through gritted teeth. rather than look around to see the expression of disbelief inej was inevitably wearing, kaz buried his face in the sheets. “i’m trying.”
“i know.”
this was the larger of the two plugs, which they’d worked up to over a number of days. most of the working-up, kaz had to concede, was psychological. he wanted, perhaps needed, to do this. it felt like it might trip him over some edge, some final wall he’d built between himself and his body and the world. knowing this didn’t make the doing any easier.
each measured press of the plug pushed terrible, never-before-uttered sounds from him. head tipped down, kaz whimpered and gasped, the pillow swallowing his noises.
he didn’t know what to make of the sensation. there was nowhere to go and nothing to do but open to her deliberate and insistent touch. it felt—it felt electric. every one of his senses narrowed on the stretch, the fullness of it. it wasn’t good yet, but it also wasn’t bad. it simply was.
kaz was primarily driven to distraction by the situation , the nakedness of it all.
the curtains were drawn against the grey sludge of ketterdam’s night. between and beneath them, fluorescent orange light spilled across the floor, mingling with the candlelight and clashing with the multi-toned hue of the mosaic lamp. inej had gone to some lengths to set the mood but all that was quite drowned out by the stretch.
it stretched and stretched and stretched and then, “fuck.” it slid home.
reflexively, kaz clenched around it, which of course only made it feel that much bigger. by the whisper drag of her hair, he knew inej had leaned forward over him, reaching to card her fingers through his hair. everything about that felt good . the lighting and inej’s touch, the way he knew she was wearing one of his t-shirts though he could not see, the murmured praise she let slip for every millimetre the plug sank into him, the way all of this sensation was planting him deeper and deeper into the bedrock of this moment, tethering him, grounding him in the absurd, miraculous heady pleasure of now , keeping at bay the hideousness of then.
from it all, he was hard as a rock, twitching desperately against the coverlet for some kind of friction, some kind of relief. inej noticed.
“baby, do you need help with that?” her hand was soft on his shoulder.
there was no coherent thread of words he could make himself conjure to answer her. only this need. relief, release, undoing.
when she put a hand on his hip, fingers slipping under his shirt, her palm hot against his bare skin. it seared through him as thoroughly as the plug, the riot of sensations overwhelming the trigger response he was still half expecting. kaz was awash but not drowning. he pushed back against her in spite of the strain on his knee.
“stop, kaz. i’ve got you. be still.” keeping one hand on his hip, inej slipped the other under him and took him in hand. “you’re doing so well. so good, like this.”
now that had him spiralling. because now he was thinking about how much he wanted to be right—be good for inej, how he wanted to be able to put power in her hands and have her see what she did to him, the way she could have the world by the throat, on its knees, at her mercy. what a glorious creature inej was when unleashed upon it as she was upon him.
inej stroked him languidly, twisting around the head. wet and slow and unrelenting. he knew his hair was a mess, his skin was tacky and flushed, his breathing was almost painful but all he could think was yes, yes, yes, yes.
everything felt bowstring taut. the sheets were slippery under his hands, unresisting as he bunched and pulled and struggled for purchase. he wanted to slide out of his skin, crawl into himself if it would allow him to drown in this feeling. it was so intense. the hot hook behind his navel was radiating slick, shivery pleasure in waterfall pulses under his skin. every stroke of her hand a punch in the gut.
“inej.” the rock-salt of his voice was almost unintelligible.
“i know,” she said.
for a fragment of a second he wondered how she could possibly know when even he didn’t know what it was he was asking for.
then, she tightened her grip and draped her whole body over his. there was barely any weight to it. she did not lie on him or push him into the bed. she braced herself with a hand on the bed and her knees inside his. this way she was so close he felt how her belly brushed his back with her inhale, felt her lay her head between his shoulder blades. so close, that when she breathed the word, “come,” over the sound of his world unfolding, he heard her anyway.
the command was given in the tone others might reserve for prayer.
kaz spilled in her hand not two strokes later. the sound he made was a startled cry, a gravelly hiss through his teeth. there was no coming back from this. kaz brekker had been undone, unwound, ruined. he was going to tell her. he would tell her what she’d done to him.
just as soon as he remembered how to speak. words seemed very far away.
they seemed further away still when he felt the bed dip beside him. inej was lying down. probably. he would have had to open his eyes to confirm. he didn’t.
then, he felt her fingers, feather-light, trace the shell of his ear, the line of his jaw, the bridge of his nose. it was slow and calming, this exploration. it also had the effect of waking him back up to feelings other than fullness .
maybe he could open his eyes.
when, eventually, kaz blinked up at her, inej whispered, “there you are.”
looking at the flush stealing up her neck, her lips swollen as if they’d been kissing, kaz realised he had a score to settle.
kaz brekker always paid his debts.
~
the night they took that final step was the night kaz and jesper opened the new shop. the silver six was a bar and club on the lid, tucked between a record shop filled with impressively bearded men in sleeve garters and a jurda dispensary the colour of a ripe summer sunset.
naturally, the first part of the evening was spent at the club, floating on champagne and success. the main room was full to brimming with the best and worst of ketterdam. wealthy party-goers looking for the next most electric spot in town; down and outers looking for a free drink (here) or free canapé (everything) or free fuck (had a price); college students lost on the way to a night with worse booze and even worse music; barrel thugs scouting dirtyhand’s latest venture, testing the seams for loose thread (there were none to find).
wylan had suggested they have a soft and a hard launch, to test the waters, to start a murmur. kaz had, instead, opened the club without preamble, no launch of any kind, to start a conversation. the club simply wasn’t there one day, only an empty building covered in tarp and scaffolding, and was there, the next.
the facade was all windows, frosted and fogged as if by a hundred breathing bodies. crystal white light painted writhing shadows against the glass—plato’s cave in trembling excess. everything about it begged onlookers to sate their curiosity.
and sate it, they did.
inej had an odd sense of deja vu while watching the milling crowd. a small, broken part of her was sure she’d been here before, pressed between heaving, sweating bodies, all hunger and no inhibition. but there, standing in plain sight at regular intervals, kaz’s security. tall, imposing figures cut from stone ready to remove anyone stepping out of line. here, plastered to the flat of the bar, notes that read:
need a safe ride home? on a bad date? worried about a friend?
flag down any of our bartenders and ask for “federike”. we’ll know what you mean and help you, discreetly. no fuss.
this establishment has a zero tolerance policy for abuse of any kind. if you see something, say something.
each measure, designed to make the club as safe as possible, chipped away at what was left of the lynx, of that frightened girl and the things that were done to her. this was a place people could come to drink and dance and celebrate, not looking over their shoulder because they knew someone else was looking for them.
a cold and sweating glass of champagne in her hand, inej stood at the edge of the crowd. kaz was somewhere else, hosting. jesper had long past dragged wylan onto the dancefloor, bored of hosting. nina was draped in a corner booth, dazzling a small congregation of onlookers.
this was something good, something right. this was happiness. the feeling slipped down her throat on a mouthful of bubbles.
suddenly, jesper appeared in a gap in the crowd and reached out to her.
“come dance!”
when she shook her head, jesper climbed out of the crowd. he looked like he did after a fight—that is to say, he looked high. energy fizzed off him in waves. it was infectious.
eyes swimming with that signature charm, jesper took inej’s hand. “please.”
the music was bassy and percussive, the kind of beat that drilled down into the bones and set the ribcage vibrating. inej could feel it in her toes and at the top of her head, it was dragging her as much as jesper was. that thrum had her conceding; resisting was  harder than submitting.
dancing was like breathing, thoughtless and imperative. the beat took her. around her the club span, a constellation of laughing faces and flashing lights. she couldn’t remember the last time she felt like this. it was like coming awake naturally, after a full nights rest. crystal clear and alive.
then, kaz was there.
then, kaz was smiling. it was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen.
wrapping a hand in his lapel, inej pulled him to her. he hesitated only a moment before catching her around the waist. the heat of his palms, searing through the silk of her dress, spread over her skin like a flush.
they would not kiss and kaz would not dance but, for a song they stood on the dancefloor, her nose in the crook of his neck, their eyes closed. her hands were in his hair, his hand was on her hip. she could have stayed like this forever but, she had a better idea.
“let’s go.” inej saw kaz shiver as her breath licked the shell of his ear.
whether it was a good idea for kaz to leave the opening of his club was a distant second thought to the sweet ache between her legs, the drag of his fingers over her palm, circling her wrist.
tonight was the night.
goodbyes were rushed and cursory. inej waved to nina across two dozen writhing bodies, nina blew her a kiss in return. jesper winked at kaz and received a scowl for his trouble. anika, pim, and rotty nodded their farewells, exchanging knowing glances. all of it blurred into the feeling of kaz right at her side with his hand on her back.
the walk home was marked by casual touches and caught stares. gun to her head, inej would not have been able to comment on the colour of the sky, the number of people on the streets, or the temperature of the air that night. her world was full of kaz and all he’d done, how far he’d come, all he had yet to do.
they fell into their apartment in a breathless tangle of limbs.
the moment the door snapped shut, kaz tucked his cane into the stand by the door and put his hands on her thighs, firm against the silk of her dress. inej kissed the column of his throat, licked his bobbing adam’s apple, and walked them both backwards to their bedroom.
the drive to fold herself into him, to blur the edges of them, was overwhelming. inej had to remind herself they were not, however desperate, ready.
breathing, she pulled back from him and was rewarded with a low, gravelly sound from the back of his throat—a bite of protest.
“slow down, kaz.”
it didn’t take more than that. kaz, eyes wide and impossibly dark, slowed. holding her close, he ducked his head and pressed his nose into her hair.
there was so much trust in his movements, in the way he smoothed his hands over her shoulders and stepped back a little. she had given him her pain and he had given her his. now, they stood, holding it in their hands. there were a million ways they could hurt each other simply by letting that pain fall, by pushing a limit, pressing an old wound.
carefully, inej took his hand. they made their way through the apartment in the dark, not stopping for lights.
once in their bedroom, she turned on the lamp made of rainbows. its multicoloured light spilled across the walls, filling the space. while inej ducked to get the box from breathless, kaz sat on the end of the bed. without his earlier haste, as he loosened his tie, undid the buttons at his cuffs, unlaced his shoes, and tugged off his socks. there was something sweet about kaz sitting there, bare feet half-swallowed by a dark red shag-pile rug.
after dropping the harness and dildo on the bed, inej crossed to stand in front of him and cupped his face in her hands. there was a light flush on his cheeks, a glassy haze to his eyes she recognised as arousal.
as she watched, his eyes fluttered shut, lashes an inky fan against his cheekbones. he let her hold him like that, breath whispering against the skin on the inside of her wrist. then he opened his eyes and opened his mouth. no words came. there was, she knew, nothing to say. so, instead, inej ran her thumb over his bottom lip, holding his lips parted. when she kissed him, she felt him sigh into her mouth.
they fell into each other, slowly and then all at once. inej climbed into his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck. where she rocked against him, chasing that mind-blanking friction, she could feel him straining and hard.
“what do you want, kaz?” the question sent her tumbling through time, other days and other words echoing between them.
“fuck.” his hands were everywhere but her skin. on the small of her back, the top of her thighs, palming her ass, pressing into the silk-clad crease. “you, inej. you.”
words from a half-remembered dream. inej moaned hearing them.
“shall i take care of you? give you what you want?” inej licked the roof of his mouth, fizzing heat shimmying up her spine with every roll of her hips. “have you earned it?”
“yes. please, my darling.”
there was no hesitation now. the flush had stolen its way up his neck, colouring the tips of his ears and the peaks of his cheekbones. he was well on his way to coming undone and inej was pulling that thread eagerly.
“make me come and i’ll give you everything you need.”
kaz groaned against her sternum. “it would be my pleasure.”
“how will you have me?”
a terrible, wicked smirk split his face at inej’s words. jutting his chin, he indicated for her to get up. then, he guided her to lie back on the bed, propped up on a rise of cushions.
heart kicking up a notch, inej watched him settle on his belly between her legs. she lost her breath entirely when he hooked her thighs over his shoulders, putting his face—his mouth —a hair away from her slick centre.
still in his shirt, there was no contact between their skin. only the solid heat of him beneath her heel, the damp wash of his breath on her inner thigh.
then, he set to work.
kaz began slowly, pressing his nose into the seam of her through her silk panties. with deliberate, careful touches he studied her sounds, the places that made her twitch and tense and gasp. the teasing pressure was torturous and distantly, inej thought this might be payback for her work with the plug. the thought barely had time to form before kaz sucked her clit into his wet mouth.
a strangled moan passed her lips and inej, grasping at the sheets, felt her back bow off the bed. fuck, the man was good with his mouth.
moving her hands from the sheets to his hair, she ground into him, relishing the way his hands tightened on her hips, how he settled in further, unphased.
she came with a shout, fireworks bursting behind her closed eyelids.
it was not that she thought he wouldn’t get her off, it was just…  his mouth.
“fuck,” she said aloud. “where did you learn that?”
kaz sat up, one hand still kneading her hip. “oh, can’t a man have any secrets?”
“you asked nina didn’t you?” when he avoided her gaze, inej gasped. ” jesper ?”
the look he wore then was something like sheepish, one shoulder half-raised. “he has pertinent experience and the requisite discretion. plus,” and he grimaced here, “nina only just got back from fjerda—i wasn’t sure she was going to be back at all.”
“oh saints.” inej laughed, buoyed by the high of her climax. “i wish i could’ve been there!”
“it was…” kaz’s mouth pursed in thought. “tolerable.”
“well, i must find a way to thank him. but first—” inej wrapped her fingers in the collar of his shirt. “i’m going to fuck you, kaz brekker.”
he moved without resistance, crawling up the bed until he hovered over her. caged in by his arms, hands pressed into the mattress on either side of her head, inej would once have vanished. these had been the conditions of her enslavement. but with time and practice, kaz had overwritten these memories. in his arms, under his watch, inej was safe. had always been safe.
hair falling in his eyes, kaz watched her watch him. dark eyes tracing the contours of her expression, cataloguing every nuance. when he dipped to kiss her it was with a gentle reverence he reserved for her alone, tender and worshipful.
“are you ready?” inej carded her fingers through his hair, delighting in the crow black shimmer of it. “do you want to?”
kaz settled his hips in the cradle of her thighs, more of his weight resting on her, and kissed her again. the kiss was answer enough but she wanted him to say it.
“tell me you want it, kaz.”
looking at her in that way of his, he raised an eyebrow and said, “i want it, inej. i want you to fuck me.”
“good.” they kissed again, teeth and tongue and breath. “on your back.”
the eyebrow quirked once more but kaz complied.
they switched places: inej made room for him to lie on his back, head on the pillows, and moved to stand by the bed, reaching for the harness. eyes hooded, kaz watched her step into it and begin fastening its myriad buckles.
inej had decided to keep her dress on. the mid-length slip was gossamer thin, an emerald green run of silk that accentuated her slim, athletic figure. seeing the look in kaz’s eyes as she held the dress up to fasten the harness confirmed all her suspicions. his hand hovered over his fly, caught halfway to action. just under his hand, inej could make out the telltale bulge of his erection.
“do you need help with that?” inej smirked as kaz blinked and hurriedly returned to the business of undressing.
with his trousers tipped off the side of the bed, inej climbed up and sat back on her haunches. there was a bottle of lube in her hand and the dark silicone dildo beside her. kaz’s eyes flicked between the two anxiously .
“whenever anything gets too much or you want me to stop, say stop.” they had agreed long ago against a traffic light system, they had no interest in playing with their boundaries. no meant no. “tell me you understand.”
“i understand.” for a beat, they only watched each other. then, inej reached out for his hand and taking it, pressed a smear of lube into his palm.
“i want you to touch yourself.”
inej said this while securing the dildo into the harness, getting a feel for its weight, the way it changed her centre of gravity. once it was fixed in place, she looked up to find him knees apart, tentatively feeling for the edges of himself. of course, they’d done this before so after only a little probing, kaz began to unwind.
with a groan, he grew bolder, opening himself up, leaning into the stimulation.
“does that feel good?”
inej was transfixed. three buttons undone, his open shirt revealed the pretty shade of pink his neck and chest had turned, the way his tendons stood out against pale skin as he clenched his jaw and strained against the pleasure. the fingers of one hand were wrapped around the base of his cock and the fingers of the other were pressing further and further into himself.
“it feels—i don’t know… i—” he cut himself off with a moan when inej shuffled forward and slid the lube-slicked dildo against the length of his bobbing cock. “ fuck.”
that about summed up how she felt about this too. watching kaz come undone was inej’s favourite pastime and they had discovered this was perhaps the best way of accomplishing such.
when inej felt he was ready, suggested by the growing furrow between his brows and the sweat glistening on his thighs, she nudged his fingers away with the slick head of the dildo.
inch by inch, he took it.
inej savoured his desperate little mewls, his groan when the dildo slid home, the white-knuckle grip he kept on the backs of his knees as she tilted her hips forward and fucked him. with every thrust, the dildo pushed back against her mound. the angle wasn’t quite right but the suggestion was enough to make her tingle and ache anew.
“look how good you take it, kaz,” inej breathed, leaning over him and putting a hand on his chest for support. “so, so good for me.”
“fuck, inej . please don’t stop—please, i—” kaz caught her eye while he babbled, tongue loosened by the steady drag of the toy. he threw his head back when inej angled her hips down, striking a match. “oh—” it was a startled sound, all breath. “right there. i’m gonna—fuck, i’m gonna—”
“oh, kaz. are you going to come untouched? are you coming for me?”
three more strokes and kaz came to his shuddering climax, muscles in his thighs and abdomen tensed with pleasure, eyes mashed shut. it made for a sinful sight. inej wished she had a camera to hand.
looking down at her man, inej laughed. not in her wildest dreams had she pictured herself back here, on her knees with a man crumpled and dishevelled and fucked out before her. not in her wildest dreams had she thought she could ever be here—not again, but at all. she felt alive, present in a way that had nothing to do with sex and everything to do with power. no one was going to hurt her or break her, certainly not kaz, who had placed his trust and his safety in her hands.
kaz cracked open an eye. “are you laughing at me?”
inej smiled widely, perhaps a little wildly.
“it’s okay if you are,” kaz continued, reaching out to trace the corner of her mouth. “i’ll be your fool as long as you keep laughing.”
“you’re no fool, kaz brekker. i’m just… remembering.”
“nothing bad, i hope.”
“oh, some bad, but mostly i’m remembering this—you and me.”
“us?”
the question was no question at all.
watching the light reflected in his eyes, his fingers tangling in the loose strands of her hair, inej smiled and nodded. “us.”
~
a/n: a few weeks ago, @xandrei slid into my dm's and suggested i write a pegging fic for this kaz x inej dialogue prompt, “look how good you take it." suffice to say, i was quite taken with the idea.
i hope this brings half as much joy to you all as it did me, what a rollercoaster!
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feelinglikecleopatra · 3 days ago
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six of crows as cards !
prints
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feelinglikecleopatra · 3 days ago
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how to kiss the girl that will kill you if she kisses you :x
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feelinglikecleopatra · 3 days ago
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may i point you in the direction of kaz in the strawberry dress by @xandrei?
kaz in a skirt - thoughts?
yes I think he does that on occasion !
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feelinglikecleopatra · 3 days ago
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you are SO welcome ✨💜
JUST GOT ON MY LUNCH BREAK CHECKED AO3 AND NEW @feelinglikecleopatra DROPPED…..
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feelinglikecleopatra · 3 days ago
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masterlist
fandom: six of crows / crooked kingdom
pairing: kaz brekker / inej ghafa
one-shots/drabbles
setbacks 
three months and nine days
hungry
dirtyhands (rated m)
new shoes
other than damage
on the job (rated m)
multi-chapter
good investments (2 parts - complete)
kings and queens (good investments smut)
when it stops being a joke (good investments smut, again)
rolling the dice (4 parts - complete)
mood boards
dancer
brick by brick
[updated 18/10/21]
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feelinglikecleopatra · 3 days ago
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when it stops being a joke
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fandom: six of crows / kaz brekker x inej ghafa
word count: 8,587
rating: M
c/w: some mention of inej at the menagerie.
summary: just a pegging fic set in my modern au. that's it, that's the tweet.
AO3
thank you times a million to @xandrei for beta reading this behemoth and for planting the seed of this idea in the first place.
~
kaz joked once, lighthearted and blurry-minded, watching jesper spin an empty whiskey bottle on the table between them, about getting fucked, about letting inej fuck him. it was a joke.
it was a joke but that didn't stop it from doing somersaults, skillful, memorable somersaults in his head.
their intimacy was still only rudimentary. inej was battling her demons, still shaking free of heleen’s claws. dancing again, though, to kaz's great relief, and it was doing wonders for her self-esteem. meanwhile, he was seeing dr. bas. a therapist based in a wealthy part of town; well-educated and expensive. it was helping, kaz was almost sure.
there were days he felt himself slipping, taking one step forward and then sliding three steps back. this was, the doctor assured him, all part of the process.
recovery looked like winter nights in inej’s arms. in the cold, sleeping fully clothed was tolerable. with the window open and the covers pulled all the way up, they wrapped themselves in each other and slept blissfully. if kaz awoke hard, from the warmth of inej curled against his back, her breath tickling the nape of his neck, he found ways to satisfy himself.
in the summer, they slept with a foot between them. him in his underwear, inej in his t-shirt—nothing but his t-shirt.
once, in a moment of panting desperation, kaz had gathered inej into his lap, hands on her clothed waist and helped her ride his thigh. the damp heat of her through their clothes had set his nerves aflame. that day, sitting at his desk in the late afternoon sun, kaz had learned some of the sounds inej made when it was him bringing her over the edge.
still, being naked together almost always ended in one or both of them shivering and dry-heaving into the toilet. there was just so much skin-on-skin contact involved in sex . maybe, and this was something they'd talked about, sex just wasn't for them. maybe that was a part of life they'd never get to experience with each other.
kaz tried to be okay with that. he really did.
his problem was, he wanted it very much, and if that time she’d gotten herself off on his thigh said anything, so did inej.
because the thing was, she made him so fucking hard. not all the time, not in a way he couldn't manage, that they couldn't manage together, but between that and the desire to be the one to make her come, it was enough. enough for him to want to fight this, to find the lever that would tip things in their favour. he wanted to share that with her.
that wasn’t to say they hadn’t gotten adventurous, no. they did plenty of other things. watching inej touch herself, sliding those slender fingers inside herself and telling him all about it, was fast becoming one of his favourite things.
ultimately though, he couldn’t stop thinking about it—letting inej fuck him—and so, it stopped being a joke.
it would work, he was sure of it. sure because, as with most things, he’d done his research. they could do it with minimal skin-on-skin contact, it would allow kaz to safely relinquish control and inej to take it.
after much consideration (and several very specific dreams) it was clear he’d really, really enjoy it.
in the end, it took him five weeks to work up the courage to suggest it to inej. when he did, they were lying in bed, with kaz on his belly in the bracket of her legs. his face was pressed into the space between her breasts, words muffled by the fabric of her t-shirt.
eyes closed and throat dry, kaz mumbled, "i've been thinking."
"what?" inej was playing with his hair, enjoying the warmth of his breath against her and the weight of him between her thighs.
reluctantly, he tilted his head to the side. "i said, i've been thinking."
"oh, saints, watch out! kaz brekker's been thinking!"
kaz listened to her laugh at her own joke, ear pressed to the place it rose from, deep in her chest, and scrunched his eyes shut.
"i—" these words were not going to come out.
"kaz." there was a note of concern in her voice now. "what is it?"
almost absently, inej scratched and kneaded his shoulder blades, blunt nails biting through his shirt. the touch was distracting.
"it was just something i was talking to jesper about, well, joking really—we, he mentioned how once he—um, how he'd—"
maybe the bed would open up and swallow them both.
before anyone or anything had the chance to answer this unspoken wish, inej tugged on his hair to get him to look at her. propped on his elbows and back bent, he saw all her concern and quiet exasperation—he hadn't been this incomprehensible in a long time.
flopping back down, this time hands digging into the flesh of her hips and face pressed into her belly, kaz said, "i think i want to try pegging."
the silence that followed was completely unbearable.
somewhere, on the street in front of their apartment building presumably, a man was shouting obscenities. a car alarm wailed and stopped. the wind rattled their old sash window frames.
inej's hands had gone still, resting at the base of his neck. beneath him, he could feel her heart—a quiet patter.
cautiously, kaz looked up.
well, she didn't look like she was going to toss him out of bed. he counted that as a victory.
"inej?"
slowly, blinking those big, dark eyes of hers, she looked down at him. though he considered himself somewhat of an expert in inej's emotional palette, this—whatever this was—he couldn't decipher.
"sorry—sorry, i just. you want to try pegging?" her brows furrowed. "you want me to peg you?"
slowly, kaz moved one of his hands from her hips to her hand, threading their fingers together.
"i've been thinking about it."
"you've been thinking about it."
"yes." this conversation, however absurd, deserved a degree of sincerity. "how—how does that make you feel? what do you think?"
"i think... i think i didn't know you knew what pegging was."
kaz couldn't help his startled laugh. his whole body shook with the force of it. half this hysteria (and that's what it is) was relief, he knew, but laughing felt good and so did inej.
her hands were moving again, slower, more deliberate.
"how long have you been thinking about this?"
"a while."
"a while?" her voice was quiet, distant. it sounded like she was smiling. "you said you were talking to jesper about this. did he suggest it?"
"no, actually... he did think it was a good idea, though. said i ‘ could do with a good fucking.’ "
now it was inej's turn to laugh.
the silence returned after, but it was less pent, more promising.
into the quiet, inej said, "i think i'd like to try."
"really?" abruptly, kaz perked up, hands on her thighs.
bright eyed, inej laughed at him, nodding.
"i thought you'd take more convincing."
"oh," she cocked her head. "did you have a whole speech prepared?"
"yes."
"i'm sorry, it just didn't seem like it when you could barely get your words out."
she could be quite vicious when it suited her. kaz couldn't be more in love.
"my darling inej, how you wound me."
"go ahead, give me all the reasons."
"well," he started. "we could do it more or less fully clothed, you'd be in—um—control, and i'm curious."
"curious, huh?"
she was impossibly warm beneath him, warm and small and soft. the feeling of her and the tilt of the conversation had begun a simmer in his blood, a liquid heat threatening to drive him out of his own skin.
resting on one elbow while kneading her thigh, kaz said, "i figured our little problem might benefit from some lateral thinking."
"how romantic, my beautiful problem solver." inej's eyes glittered as she said this. "come here."
cupping the back of his neck, inej tugged him up the bed. to relieve the pressure on his knee and take his weight off her, kaz moved to lie on his side next to her.
hand flat against her belly, he let her drag his head down for a kiss.
kissing was still a novelty. the first thing he remembered thinking was that it was wetter than he'd have guessed. tongues and teeth and teasing breath. of course, he had no objections. inej's mouth tasted of peaches and sea salt and he'd never have his fill.
they pulled apart with a wet smack and kaz moved to trail open-mouthed kisses to the corner of her mouth, over her chin, down her neck. all the while, his hand walked meandering paths up and down her leg. inej was slender, his hand easily spanned the width of her upper thigh, but leanly powerful. he had such fantasies about all the things they might do.
with a small movement, the thigh he didn't have his hands all over was pressed between his own legs, pushing against his length—already straining under his clothes. kaz groaned into her neck and rolled his hips against her before he could stop himself.
"kaz." inej whined when he smoothed his hand up her thigh and cupped her over her leggings.
so hot . imagining what it might feel like to push into her, to feel all that wet heat wrapped around him was a kind of self-flagellation. everyday he thought he was getting farther from ever experiencing it.
just then she ground down against his hand and whimpered, high and thready, in the back of her throat. the sound mercifully pulled him from his thoughts. the way she was grinding against him made him think their conversation hadn't just affected him. she liked the idea of fucking him too. saints and if that wasn't just the most delicious thought.
here began the tug-of-war between his desire to take off every stitch of clothing and be with the girl of his dreams and the knowledge that to do so would send him careening twenty years back in time. he knows the water would rise and he’d be back there, on the worst night of his life, the bloated texture of his dead brother's skin beneath his hands. it felt as though, some days, it would tear him apart. in the tumble of such overwhelming physiological responses, what did kaz's wants matter? he could barely articulate them after all. could barely form a thought around his intermingled fear and arousal.
what he needed , he realised with startling clarity, with inej's whispered encouragements dragging him closer and closer to release, was for her to take him, to tell him what to do and how, to tell him what she needed and make him give it.
this need, as yet unarticulated, rang in his head with bell-like clarity. that, combined with inej's hand directing his own to stroke her just right, pulled a vision-whitening climax from him.
the aftermath of this kind of fumble was not unfamiliar. in fact, kaz had once come in his pants while inej gave him a lap dance.
as always, on such occasions, his underwear was now uncomfortably wet, clinging to him horribly. doubly unfortunate, the sweet lassitude that only came with recent release kept him horizontal, not at all motivated to rectify the situation.
blessedly, inej seemed equally disinclined to move from their prone position.
"well—" inej laughed.
kaz hummed and tilted his head to look over at her. her hair was still in its customary braid, only now rather dishevelled, strands coming loose and curling on the white pillowcase. there was something effortless about her then, lazy and relaxed.
his heart was an open wound and he was content to let it bleed for her.
“i guess i need to go shopping.”
this felt like a non-sequitur. “what?”
with a crooked smile that almost made him feel like he was looking in the mirror, inej turned to him. she walked a hand up his chest and tapped his nose. it was uncharacteristically absurd behaviour.
“ someone just asked—with a lot of prevarication—me, a penis-less person, to fuck them with the nearest equivalent of a cock. and since i don’t already possess the appropriate equipment, i thought i’d go on a little shopping spree. unless you own a collection of strap-ons i wasn’t aware of? where do you keep them? the linen closet, maybe?” she swung herself around to peer at the floor. “under the bed?”
in the unfolding of that little speech, kaz felt a quite unfamiliar heat prickle over his skin. this was almost certainly the most embarrassing conversation he’d ever had and inej was enjoying it entirely too much.
saints , he was probably blushing.
“oh, you’re so cute when you’re flustered.”
inej was the only person he would allow to laugh at him and that was mostly because her laugh was his favourite intoxicant.
before he tripped and fell into any other humiliating conversations, kaz rose to go clean himself up. inej was still snickering to herself on the bed while he was dumping his pants into the hamper.
~
west stave.
there were days, still, when inej couldn’t even come to this part of town.
it wasn’t that this is where she was kept when she was brought to ketterdam. no, that had been some crummy apartment with windows that looked out at nothing, an empty fridge, and doors that locked from the outside.
it was the men. what made her skin crawl walking through ketterdam’s red light district were the men that frequented it.
they never looked happy. not truly. not happy the way she was happy with the thread of a good song in her head, or with nina devouring more waffles than they could pay for, or with kaz unbraiding her hair at night. some looked happy in that gleeful, glint-eyed, slimy kind of way—the worst way. some looked obliquely, temporarily satisfied. but none of them seemed truly content.
she felt their gaze like pinpricks on her skin; that power they had to make an object of her. once upon a time she had been nothing more than set dressing, a prop to be used and discarded, unwanted for anything but someone else’s short, meaningless pleasure. how easy, she thought, it would be for her to become such a thing again.
knowing herself and anticipating this maudlin train of thought, inej came in the middle of the day. navigating such haunted streets under a drab, grey sky was, if not fun, at least tolerable. of course, she could have looked online for the things they needed but she’d always been a big believer in trying, or in this case, seeing, before buying.
the place she was looking for, not-so-subtly called breathless, had great reviews and was located on the very edge of west stave, which was a mark in its favour as far as inej was concerned.
between other stores of its ilk—all dressed in red and black and glittering gold—it stood out. in fact, the colour palette was quite unexpected. the building’s facade was a clean, powder blue, with white accents and balustrades. the shop window looked into an open plan display room washed in soft pastel shades at front, darkening to more robust colours toward the back. one reviewer had praised the store’s accommodating such a range of tastes. it was clear immediately what they had meant.
the small silver bell above the door tinkled faintly as inej entered. the sound was oddly calming, so at odds with all the dark, miserable gremlins haunting her.
every aisle in the boutique boasted an impressive array of toys, lingerie, and accessories. inej ran her hand through a shimmering display of babydolls and bit her lip thinking about kaz’s reaction to her in one of them. there were garter belts and crotchless panties and stockings in a satin so fine they were almost perfectly sheer. again, she thought of what kaz’s reaction would be, an attempt to ward off the demons nipping at her heels.
despite all this, the past made an unwelcome appearance anyway.
some of the toys, out of the corner of her eye she spied crops and paddles, made her hair stand on end, goosebumps prickling her skin. equally unwelcome sense memories, barked orders and stinging punishments, locked her knees. panic was a gaping mouth in the floor and it swallowed her whole.
suddenly, standing in the middle of this shop, inej couldn’t breathe. she had just enough space left to think, how ironic.
the ragged, rasping breaths she was taking were going absolutely nowhere. there was no air, nothing. everything felt numb and cold; she felt empty and terrified. the edges of her vision were whitening, fading out. and although she recognised this as the preamble to unconsciousness, there was nothing she could do about it.
a gentle hand, feather light against her arm, pulled her a fraction of the way out of paralysis. just enough to take a breath that didn’t feel worthless, that went somewhere. the stranger pushed a paper bag into her hand and coaxed her to raise it to her face. then, she heard whoever it was telling her to breathe too—into the bag, preferably.
by the time inej could make sense of her thoughts again, she was sitting, head between her knees, the same stranger—she was almost sure—perched beside her. they kept enough distance to avoid touching her but didn’t sit so far as to feel withholding. the offer of touch was there.
“how’re you feeling?” the voice was accent-less and smooth.
inej focused on the stranger’s shoes, spotless, patent black, red-bottom stilettos, and took three more deep breaths before answering. “better. thank you.”
“that’s quite alright, my dear. these things happen. would you like me to call someone?”
“no, no, i’ll be alright. i just need a minute.”
“take all the time you need.”
inej expected the stranger to get up and leave but they stayed seated, crossed one shapely leg over the other and reclined back, apparently prepared to wait with her. that almost made her cry, tears threatening out of sheer relief of not having to do this alone.
“you don’t have to wait with me, i’m okay, really.”
“it’s no skin off my back. and besides, i’m always happy to wait with anyone who comes to my store and feels anything other than delicious, so i can rectify the issue.”
“oh, this is your store?”
“that’s right.”
the two of them were silent for a moment. gradually, the nausea and breathlessness passed. inej sat up and gave the shopkeeper a wobbly smile.
“there you are.” they returned the smile with one of their own. “well, aren’t you a beauty—if you don’t mind my saying. the name is sem.”
“inej.” they shook hands after inej wiped a still-sweaty palm on her slacks.
the shopkeeper, sem, had the kind of soft face inej had always envied, heart-shaped and pretty. their hair was long and ash-blonde, falling to their waist in a curtain of frothy waves. with their wide shoulders and height—they were looking down at inej even while seated—they felt sturdy, immovable at her side.
“now, i believe you were interrupted in the middle of what looked like an important and quite tantalising mission. may i be of assistance?”
“oh, i don’t know… i…”
“rest assured, i have heard and seen it all.”
“well…” she could do with the help, she thought. “actually, i was looking for—um—a strap-on.”
“delightful!” sem’s light eyes sparkled as they flashed a grin. “why don’t you tell me the kind of thing you’d like to do with one and i can bring over some of my recommendations? that way you won’t have to wander around the store—which can be a bit hazardous, i admit.”
finding everything she needed took two hours but, sem insisted, these things took time and her diligence was to be rewarded.
afterwards, explaining her tardiness for her lunch date with jesper was an exercise in tactical evasion she hadn’t wanted or needed. it wasn’t at all clear whether or not he believed any of her half-baked excuses but, he hadn’t pried the truth out of her either so inej left with her (and kaz’s) dignity intact.
~
two days later, at nine bells in the morning, the package arrived.
inej had paid extra for delivery to avoid the nightmare of carrying her purchases  to lunch.
she took the package from the delivery man without making eye-contact. there was no way he knew what was inside but somehow inej knowing was enough to make her whole body flush.
back inside their apartment, far from prying eyes, inej tore into the box, with its profusion of fuchsia tissue paper. by the time she’d unwrapped every item, the bed was littered with fluttering glitter in the shape of genitalia—vulvas and penises of all varieties.
among the items scattered across their downy, navy blue coverlet was a small, tulip-shaped bottle of lube, two plugs of different sizes, and a vibrator that could, if the want struck, be attached to the harness of their new strap-on. sem was both exceedingly judicious and meticulous in their consideration of their clientèle's needs.
inej was, in the middle of getting changed out of her leotard, thinking about that vibrator. the day had been long, but in a pleasant, languorous sort of way. if it were going to be like any other day it would end with a bowl of bolognese, a glass of red wine, and waiting for kaz over the one-thousand-piece puzzle they were currently working on. now though, she was thinking about that vibrator.
dinner came together absently, heated on the stove as her favourite record, stuck on a hairline, played the same few notes over and over again. inej always kept the lights low in the apartment—she did not need to see the stain just above the skirting-board or the dead fly in the corner of the windowsill. suddenly, thinking about lying back in her bed, panties tangled around one ankle, one hand on her breast and the other between her legs, the lights seemed intimate rather than simply comfortable.
she stirred salt into the sauce and drained the spaghetti, steam billowing out of the sink like a damp kiss. the hair on her skin rose with delicious anticipation. everything felt raw, sensitive as she forked pasta into a bowl and spooned sauce over it.
saints .
she didn’t think she’d ever been this turned on, just by herself, before. something about it felt illicit, furtive.
pasta . she was making pasta.
that was how kaz found her. he was home early, coming through the door with a groan and the smell of wet leaves. autumn was well underway. all of this was only making things worse. scents moist and warm and safe, sounds familiar and wanting and wanted. inej was coming apart with need over a bowl of spaghetti.
standing very close behind her, kaz said, “that smells good.”
inej started, hand over heart. there was nothing that should have been startling about this—she’d heard him enter and heard him approach, had felt him behind her, but she was walking a tightrope over nothing but desire.
“you okay?” kaz looked amused. his eyes flicked over her face in that way of his. then, tentatively, he raised a hand to her cheek. “you look—flushed.”
“i’m fine. it’s nothing.” the bowl was very warm in her hands, the grain of the ceramic unfinished, textured. she rethought her words. “actually, i want to show you something.”
one of kaz’s dark eyebrows arched as he watched her put down the bowl.
curling a hand in his, inej tugged him out of the kitchen-dining room. he was too delighted, too swept up in her sudden haste to question her motives, however bizarre. they made their way past living room, bathroom, and guest room. their apartment wasn’t big but it was light and well-furnished, all wood floors and splashy, colorful zemeni rugs. when they got to their bedroom, inej flicked on a light in the corner. its shade was a happy mosaic of coloured glass, washing the whole room in reds and yellows and deep blues.
crouching, inej tugged a box with the word breathless stamped on it’s lid from under the bed. it was a deep turquoise in colour and completely foreign to kaz.
“what’re you up to, ghafa?”
she traced an idle finger over the top of the box, head tilted. “i went shopping.”
there was, of course, only one thing she could be referring to.
“oh?” by the colour rising in his face, the question communicated a degree of calm he was rapidly losing.
inej hummed, nodding. “would you like to see what i bought?”
“i thought we were having dinner.”
“we can, if you like. or i can show you what i bought.”
there was a challenge in her gaze. inej had caught him unawares, unprepared, and there was nothing kaz brekker found more inciting than being caught without a plan. even from across the bed, inej thought she could see his pulse in his throat.
“show me.”
inej smiled, slow and teasing—the full spread, all teeth. quietly added to her earlier images of distressed sheets, hastily removed clothes, and brand new vibrators was the image of kaz, watching her.
dinner went cold in the kitchen.
~
this was nothing like anything they’d ever done before. either of them. and that was saying something.
sprawled across the bed he shared with inej, kaz was lying on his front. at some point the top three buttons of his shirt had come undone and his cuffs had been rolled up. he was also still wearing his trousers and underwear, though these had been unceremoniously tugged down around his thighs.
murmuring soothing nonsense, inej was teasing him. the cool metal tip of the plug was slippery with lube and cold, but warming gradually.
generally, kaz had come to accept that inej had experience , though it made him see red to think about. he had also gotten over his initial discomfort at being so out of step with her, knowing so little about bodies, lust, and pleasure. as a teenage boy, he’d had his fumbles, but there was something about being curled up on his bed furiously stroking himself that made him cringe. it was such a vulnerable, even atavistic, position. it hadn’t occurred to him until much later that his substitute, violence, was just as primal, just as basic in origin.
his fists were clenched in the sheets; the anticipation threatening to undo him.
a firm hand, pressed to the small of his back, reminded him to, “relax.”
“i am relaxed,” he said through gritted teeth. rather than look around to see the expression of disbelief inej was inevitably wearing, kaz buried his face in the sheets. “i’m trying.”
“i know.”
this was the larger of the two plugs, which they’d worked up to over a number of days. most of the working-up, kaz had to concede, was psychological. he wanted, perhaps needed, to do this. it felt like it might trip him over some edge, some final wall he’d built between himself and his body and the world. knowing this didn’t make the doing any easier.
each measured press of the plug pushed terrible, never-before-uttered sounds from him. head tipped down, kaz whimpered and gasped, the pillow swallowing his noises.
he didn’t know what to make of the sensation. there was nowhere to go and nothing to do but open to her deliberate and insistent touch. it felt—it felt electric. every one of his senses narrowed on the stretch, the fullness of it. it wasn’t good yet, but it also wasn’t bad. it simply was.
kaz was primarily driven to distraction by the situation , the nakedness of it all.
the curtains were drawn against the grey sludge of ketterdam’s night. between and beneath them, fluorescent orange light spilled across the floor, mingling with the candlelight and clashing with the multi-toned hue of the mosaic lamp. inej had gone to some lengths to set the mood but all that was quite drowned out by the stretch.
it stretched and stretched and stretched and then, “fuck.” it slid home.
reflexively, kaz clenched around it, which of course only made it feel that much bigger. by the whisper drag of her hair, he knew inej had leaned forward over him, reaching to card her fingers through his hair. everything about that felt good . the lighting and inej’s touch, the way he knew she was wearing one of his t-shirts though he could not see, the murmured praise she let slip for every millimetre the plug sank into him, the way all of this sensation was planting him deeper and deeper into the bedrock of this moment, tethering him, grounding him in the absurd, miraculous heady pleasure of now , keeping at bay the hideousness of then.
from it all, he was hard as a rock, twitching desperately against the coverlet for some kind of friction, some kind of relief. inej noticed.
“baby, do you need help with that?” her hand was soft on his shoulder.
there was no coherent thread of words he could make himself conjure to answer her. only this need. relief, release, undoing.
when she put a hand on his hip, fingers slipping under his shirt, her palm hot against his bare skin. it seared through him as thoroughly as the plug, the riot of sensations overwhelming the trigger response he was still half expecting. kaz was awash but not drowning. he pushed back against her in spite of the strain on his knee.
“stop, kaz. i’ve got you. be still.” keeping one hand on his hip, inej slipped the other under him and took him in hand. “you’re doing so well. so good, like this.”
now that had him spiralling. because now he was thinking about how much he wanted to be right—be good for inej, how he wanted to be able to put power in her hands and have her see what she did to him, the way she could have the world by the throat, on its knees, at her mercy. what a glorious creature inej was when unleashed upon it as she was upon him.
inej stroked him languidly, twisting around the head. wet and slow and unrelenting. he knew his hair was a mess, his skin was tacky and flushed, his breathing was almost painful but all he could think was yes, yes, yes, yes.
everything felt bowstring taut. the sheets were slippery under his hands, unresisting as he bunched and pulled and struggled for purchase. he wanted to slide out of his skin, crawl into himself if it would allow him to drown in this feeling. it was so intense. the hot hook behind his navel was radiating slick, shivery pleasure in waterfall pulses under his skin. every stroke of her hand a punch in the gut.
“inej.” the rock-salt of his voice was almost unintelligible.
“i know,” she said.
for a fragment of a second he wondered how she could possibly know when even he didn’t know what it was he was asking for.
then, she tightened her grip and draped her whole body over his. there was barely any weight to it. she did not lie on him or push him into the bed. she braced herself with a hand on the bed and her knees inside his. this way she was so close he felt how her belly brushed his back with her inhale, felt her lay her head between his shoulder blades. so close, that when she breathed the word, “come,” over the sound of his world unfolding, he heard her anyway.
the command was given in the tone others might reserve for prayer.
kaz spilled in her hand not two strokes later. the sound he made was a startled cry, a gravelly hiss through his teeth. there was no coming back from this. kaz brekker had been undone, unwound, ruined. he was going to tell her. he would tell her what she’d done to him.
just as soon as he remembered how to speak. words seemed very far away.
they seemed further away still when he felt the bed dip beside him. inej was lying down. probably. he would have had to open his eyes to confirm. he didn’t.
then, he felt her fingers, feather-light, trace the shell of his ear, the line of his jaw, the bridge of his nose. it was slow and calming, this exploration. it also had the effect of waking him back up to feelings other than fullness .
maybe he could open his eyes.
when, eventually, kaz blinked up at her, inej whispered, “there you are.”
looking at the flush stealing up her neck, her lips swollen as if they’d been kissing, kaz realised he had a score to settle.
kaz brekker always paid his debts.
~
the night they took that final step was the night kaz and jesper opened the new shop. the silver six was a bar and club on the lid, tucked between a record shop filled with impressively bearded men in sleeve garters and a jurda dispensary the colour of a ripe summer sunset.
naturally, the first part of the evening was spent at the club, floating on champagne and success. the main room was full to brimming with the best and worst of ketterdam. wealthy party-goers looking for the next most electric spot in town; down and outers looking for a free drink (here) or free canapé (everything) or free fuck (had a price); college students lost on the way to a night with worse booze and even worse music; barrel thugs scouting dirtyhand’s latest venture, testing the seams for loose thread (there were none to find).
wylan had suggested they have a soft and a hard launch, to test the waters, to start a murmur. kaz had, instead, opened the club without preamble, no launch of any kind, to start a conversation. the club simply wasn’t there one day, only an empty building covered in tarp and scaffolding, and was there, the next.
the facade was all windows, frosted and fogged as if by a hundred breathing bodies. crystal white light painted writhing shadows against the glass—plato’s cave in trembling excess. everything about it begged onlookers to sate their curiosity.
and sate it, they did.
inej had an odd sense of deja vu while watching the milling crowd. a small, broken part of her was sure she’d been here before, pressed between heaving, sweating bodies, all hunger and no inhibition. but there, standing in plain sight at regular intervals, kaz’s security. tall, imposing figures cut from stone ready to remove anyone stepping out of line. here, plastered to the flat of the bar, notes that read:
need a safe ride home? on a bad date? worried about a friend?
flag down any of our bartenders and ask for “federike”. we’ll know what you mean and help you, discreetly. no fuss.
this establishment has a zero tolerance policy for abuse of any kind. if you see something, say something.
each measure, designed to make the club as safe as possible, chipped away at what was left of the lynx, of that frightened girl and the things that were done to her. this was a place people could come to drink and dance and celebrate, not looking over their shoulder because they knew someone else was looking for them.
a cold and sweating glass of champagne in her hand, inej stood at the edge of the crowd. kaz was somewhere else, hosting. jesper had long past dragged wylan onto the dancefloor, bored of hosting. nina was draped in a corner booth, dazzling a small congregation of onlookers.
this was something good, something right. this was happiness. the feeling slipped down her throat on a mouthful of bubbles.
suddenly, jesper appeared in a gap in the crowd and reached out to her.
“come dance!”
when she shook her head, jesper climbed out of the crowd. he looked like he did after a fight—that is to say, he looked high. energy fizzed off him in waves. it was infectious.
eyes swimming with that signature charm, jesper took inej’s hand. “please.”
the music was bassy and percussive, the kind of beat that drilled down into the bones and set the ribcage vibrating. inej could feel it in her toes and at the top of her head, it was dragging her as much as jesper was. that thrum had her conceding; resisting was  harder than submitting.
dancing was like breathing, thoughtless and imperative. the beat took her. around her the club span, a constellation of laughing faces and flashing lights. she couldn’t remember the last time she felt like this. it was like coming awake naturally, after a full nights rest. crystal clear and alive.
then, kaz was there.
then, kaz was smiling. it was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen.
wrapping a hand in his lapel, inej pulled him to her. he hesitated only a moment before catching her around the waist. the heat of his palms, searing through the silk of her dress, spread over her skin like a flush.
they would not kiss and kaz would not dance but, for a song they stood on the dancefloor, her nose in the crook of his neck, their eyes closed. her hands were in his hair, his hand was on her hip. she could have stayed like this forever but, she had a better idea.
“let’s go.” inej saw kaz shiver as her breath licked the shell of his ear.
whether it was a good idea for kaz to leave the opening of his club was a distant second thought to the sweet ache between her legs, the drag of his fingers over her palm, circling her wrist.
tonight was the night.
goodbyes were rushed and cursory. inej waved to nina across two dozen writhing bodies, nina blew her a kiss in return. jesper winked at kaz and received a scowl for his trouble. anika, pim, and rotty nodded their farewells, exchanging knowing glances. all of it blurred into the feeling of kaz right at her side with his hand on her back.
the walk home was marked by casual touches and caught stares. gun to her head, inej would not have been able to comment on the colour of the sky, the number of people on the streets, or the temperature of the air that night. her world was full of kaz and all he’d done, how far he’d come, all he had yet to do.
they fell into their apartment in a breathless tangle of limbs.
the moment the door snapped shut, kaz tucked his cane into the stand by the door and put his hands on her thighs, firm against the silk of her dress. inej kissed the column of his throat, licked his bobbing adam’s apple, and walked them both backwards to their bedroom.
the drive to fold herself into him, to blur the edges of them, was overwhelming. inej had to remind herself they were not, however desperate, ready.
breathing, she pulled back from him and was rewarded with a low, gravelly sound from the back of his throat—a bite of protest.
“slow down, kaz.”
it didn’t take more than that. kaz, eyes wide and impossibly dark, slowed. holding her close, he ducked his head and pressed his nose into her hair.
there was so much trust in his movements, in the way he smoothed his hands over her shoulders and stepped back a little. she had given him her pain and he had given her his. now, they stood, holding it in their hands. there were a million ways they could hurt each other simply by letting that pain fall, by pushing a limit, pressing an old wound.
carefully, inej took his hand. they made their way through the apartment in the dark, not stopping for lights.
once in their bedroom, she turned on the lamp made of rainbows. its multicoloured light spilled across the walls, filling the space. while inej ducked to get the box from breathless, kaz sat on the end of the bed. without his earlier haste, as he loosened his tie, undid the buttons at his cuffs, unlaced his shoes, and tugged off his socks. there was something sweet about kaz sitting there, bare feet half-swallowed by a dark red shag-pile rug.
after dropping the harness and dildo on the bed, inej crossed to stand in front of him and cupped his face in her hands. there was a light flush on his cheeks, a glassy haze to his eyes she recognised as arousal.
as she watched, his eyes fluttered shut, lashes an inky fan against his cheekbones. he let her hold him like that, breath whispering against the skin on the inside of her wrist. then he opened his eyes and opened his mouth. no words came. there was, she knew, nothing to say. so, instead, inej ran her thumb over his bottom lip, holding his lips parted. when she kissed him, she felt him sigh into her mouth.
they fell into each other, slowly and then all at once. inej climbed into his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck. where she rocked against him, chasing that mind-blanking friction, she could feel him straining and hard.
“what do you want, kaz?” the question sent her tumbling through time, other days and other words echoing between them.
“fuck.” his hands were everywhere but her skin. on the small of her back, the top of her thighs, palming her ass, pressing into the silk-clad crease. “you, inej. you.”
words from a half-remembered dream. inej moaned hearing them.
“shall i take care of you? give you what you want?” inej licked the roof of his mouth, fizzing heat shimmying up her spine with every roll of her hips. “have you earned it?”
“yes. please, my darling.”
there was no hesitation now. the flush had stolen its way up his neck, colouring the tips of his ears and the peaks of his cheekbones. he was well on his way to coming undone and inej was pulling that thread eagerly.
“make me come and i’ll give you everything you need.”
kaz groaned against her sternum. “it would be my pleasure.”
“how will you have me?”
a terrible, wicked smirk split his face at inej’s words. jutting his chin, he indicated for her to get up. then, he guided her to lie back on the bed, propped up on a rise of cushions.
heart kicking up a notch, inej watched him settle on his belly between her legs. she lost her breath entirely when he hooked her thighs over his shoulders, putting his face—his mouth —a hair away from her slick centre.
still in his shirt, there was no contact between their skin. only the solid heat of him beneath her heel, the damp wash of his breath on her inner thigh.
then, he set to work.
kaz began slowly, pressing his nose into the seam of her through her silk panties. with deliberate, careful touches he studied her sounds, the places that made her twitch and tense and gasp. the teasing pressure was torturous and distantly, inej thought this might be payback for her work with the plug. the thought barely had time to form before kaz sucked her clit into his wet mouth.
a strangled moan passed her lips and inej, grasping at the sheets, felt her back bow off the bed. fuck, the man was good with his mouth.
moving her hands from the sheets to his hair, she ground into him, relishing the way his hands tightened on her hips, how he settled in further, unphased.
she came with a shout, fireworks bursting behind her closed eyelids.
it was not that she thought he wouldn’t get her off, it was just…  his mouth.
“fuck,” she said aloud. “where did you learn that?”
kaz sat up, one hand still kneading her hip. “oh, can’t a man have any secrets?”
“you asked nina didn’t you?” when he avoided her gaze, inej gasped. ” jesper ?”
the look he wore then was something like sheepish, one shoulder half-raised. “he has pertinent experience and the requisite discretion. plus,” and he grimaced here, “nina only just got back from fjerda—i wasn’t sure she was going to be back at all.”
“oh saints.” inej laughed, buoyed by the high of her climax. “i wish i could’ve been there!”
“it was…” kaz’s mouth pursed in thought. “tolerable.”
“well, i must find a way to thank him. but first—” inej wrapped her fingers in the collar of his shirt. “i’m going to fuck you, kaz brekker.”
he moved without resistance, crawling up the bed until he hovered over her. caged in by his arms, hands pressed into the mattress on either side of her head, inej would once have vanished. these had been the conditions of her enslavement. but with time and practice, kaz had overwritten these memories. in his arms, under his watch, inej was safe. had always been safe.
hair falling in his eyes, kaz watched her watch him. dark eyes tracing the contours of her expression, cataloguing every nuance. when he dipped to kiss her it was with a gentle reverence he reserved for her alone, tender and worshipful.
“are you ready?” inej carded her fingers through his hair, delighting in the crow black shimmer of it. “do you want to?”
kaz settled his hips in the cradle of her thighs, more of his weight resting on her, and kissed her again. the kiss was answer enough but she wanted him to say it.
“tell me you want it, kaz.”
looking at her in that way of his, he raised an eyebrow and said, “i want it, inej. i want you to fuck me.”
“good.” they kissed again, teeth and tongue and breath. “on your back.”
the eyebrow quirked once more but kaz complied.
they switched places: inej made room for him to lie on his back, head on the pillows, and moved to stand by the bed, reaching for the harness. eyes hooded, kaz watched her step into it and begin fastening its myriad buckles.
inej had decided to keep her dress on. the mid-length slip was gossamer thin, an emerald green run of silk that accentuated her slim, athletic figure. seeing the look in kaz’s eyes as she held the dress up to fasten the harness confirmed all her suspicions. his hand hovered over his fly, caught halfway to action. just under his hand, inej could make out the telltale bulge of his erection.
“do you need help with that?” inej smirked as kaz blinked and hurriedly returned to the business of undressing.
with his trousers tipped off the side of the bed, inej climbed up and sat back on her haunches. there was a bottle of lube in her hand and the dark silicone dildo beside her. kaz’s eyes flicked between the two anxiously .
“whenever anything gets too much or you want me to stop, say stop.” they had agreed long ago against a traffic light system, they had no interest in playing with their boundaries. no meant no. “tell me you understand.”
“i understand.” for a beat, they only watched each other. then, inej reached out for his hand and taking it, pressed a smear of lube into his palm.
“i want you to touch yourself.”
inej said this while securing the dildo into the harness, getting a feel for its weight, the way it changed her centre of gravity. once it was fixed in place, she looked up to find him knees apart, tentatively feeling for the edges of himself. of course, they’d done this before so after only a little probing, kaz began to unwind.
with a groan, he grew bolder, opening himself up, leaning into the stimulation.
“does that feel good?”
inej was transfixed. three buttons undone, his open shirt revealed the pretty shade of pink his neck and chest had turned, the way his tendons stood out against pale skin as he clenched his jaw and strained against the pleasure. the fingers of one hand were wrapped around the base of his cock and the fingers of the other were pressing further and further into himself.
“it feels—i don’t know… i—” he cut himself off with a moan when inej shuffled forward and slid the lube-slicked dildo against the length of his bobbing cock. “ fuck.”
that about summed up how she felt about this too. watching kaz come undone was inej’s favourite pastime and they had discovered this was perhaps the best way of accomplishing such.
when inej felt he was ready, suggested by the growing furrow between his brows and the sweat glistening on his thighs, she nudged his fingers away with the slick head of the dildo.
inch by inch, he took it.
inej savoured his desperate little mewls, his groan when the dildo slid home, the white-knuckle grip he kept on the backs of his knees as she tilted her hips forward and fucked him. with every thrust, the dildo pushed back against her mound. the angle wasn’t quite right but the suggestion was enough to make her tingle and ache anew.
“look how good you take it, kaz,” inej breathed, leaning over him and putting a hand on his chest for support. “so, so good for me.”
“fuck, inej . please don’t stop—please, i—” kaz caught her eye while he babbled, tongue loosened by the steady drag of the toy. he threw his head back when inej angled her hips down, striking a match. “oh—” it was a startled sound, all breath. “right there. i’m gonna—fuck, i’m gonna—”
“oh, kaz. are you going to come untouched? are you coming for me?”
three more strokes and kaz came to his shuddering climax, muscles in his thighs and abdomen tensed with pleasure, eyes mashed shut. it made for a sinful sight. inej wished she had a camera to hand.
looking down at her man, inej laughed. not in her wildest dreams had she pictured herself back here, on her knees with a man crumpled and dishevelled and fucked out before her. not in her wildest dreams had she thought she could ever be here—not again, but at all. she felt alive, present in a way that had nothing to do with sex and everything to do with power. no one was going to hurt her or break her, certainly not kaz, who had placed his trust and his safety in her hands.
kaz cracked open an eye. “are you laughing at me?”
inej smiled widely, perhaps a little wildly.
“it’s okay if you are,” kaz continued, reaching out to trace the corner of her mouth. “i’ll be your fool as long as you keep laughing.”
“you’re no fool, kaz brekker. i’m just… remembering.”
“nothing bad, i hope.”
“oh, some bad, but mostly i’m remembering this—you and me.”
“us?”
the question was no question at all.
watching the light reflected in his eyes, his fingers tangling in the loose strands of her hair, inej smiled and nodded. “us.”
~
a/n: a few weeks ago, @xandrei slid into my dm's and suggested i write a pegging fic for this kaz x inej dialogue prompt, “look how good you take it." suffice to say, i was quite taken with the idea.
i hope this brings half as much joy to you all as it did me, what a rollercoaster!
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feelinglikecleopatra · 3 days ago
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feelinglikecleopatra · 4 days ago
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*matthias voice* holy shit (2018 redraw)
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feelinglikecleopatra · 5 days ago
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your words have made me cry, so it’s only fair.
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Adagio - Chapter 3
Talking to him is like walking the high wire she’d trained on as a child, like the swoop in the stomach just before a fall, only without knowing the net will be there to catch her.
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