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Jaina’s chair rang out a horrible screeching as she stood up from the negotiation table. Her fists were clenched tight enough to bend steel and her shoulders were squared directly at the source of her irritation. Sylvanas lounged in her seat across the table, watching Jaina’s fury rise with a lidless, appraising gaze. Refusing to back down from that stare, Jaina could feel her nails biting into her palms.

Jaina, sit down .” Anduin hissed through his teeth as he tried to pull her back to the table.

“You must not have much experience with Kul Tirans, your majesty,” Sylvanas drawled. She leaned back in her chair, chin upon her hand, and propped a brazen heel of her boot against the table. “This is the only way they know how to negotiate. With fists, with shouting and occasionally with some very violent love-making.”

Jaina grit her teeth but didn’t back down. She didn’t trust herself to speak without barking, even as she realised how ineffectual that would be here. She was not among her people. She was not defending her honor in a tavern brawl. Peace between the Alliance and the Horde was not coming from her fists, but that didn’t stop Jaina’s more atavistic cultural inclinations from clawing at her gut.

Sylvanas must have read the intentions warring on Jaina’s face, she cocked her head as if being presented with a curious gift. “I’m very flattered, by the way, but I think you’ll find it’s hard to beat a banshee in a shouting match. Best two out of three?”

“Sylvanas,” Anduin did his best to interrupt. “You gave your word that this would be a peaceful meeting.”

“I gave my word that it would be a productive meeting, and that my people would harm no member of your delegation, little lion. I cannot be held accountable if you cannot control your Lord Admiral and I will defend myself, should the need arise.”

Anduin was too new to all of this, too new by far to leading at all. Jaina could see that in his face. It almost softened her anger, to see the pained expression flitting across his features as he entreated her to sit down and endure the Horde’s insults. Almost, save for the sight of Sylvanas’ smug face triumphantly watching her about to back down. It was too much.

“Blood elf,” Jaina barked at Lor’themar. “Are there any elven rites for settling disputes with fists?”

Lor’themar, who’d been enduring the negotiations with relative poise for most of the meeting, seemed flummoxed that he’d been involved at all, but rubbed at his chin, looking contemplative. After a moment, he said, “There is one — the Felo’melorn — but it’s specifically reserved for -”

“Good, I invoke whatever the fuck that is.” She jabbed a finger at Sylvanas. “You, me, fists, here, now.”

At that, both Lor’themar and Sylvanas sat up very straight in their seats. On the one hand Lor’themar looked shocked. He appeared to be trying — and failing — to catch his Warchief’s eye — but Sylvanas was watching Jaina like the cat that got the canary, watching with a grin that was all teeth. “If you were hoping to silence any inappropriate comments, that was a very poor choice of words. Nevertheless, I accept.”

“This can’t be happening,” Anduin groaned into his hands.

Jaina didn’t care, she was already shrugging off her coat and flicking her braid over her shoulder. Sylvanas rose languidly out of her own chair and shed her cloak in the same motion, elven grace at its finest and most ridiculous. Jaina was going to enjoy bloodying that nose.

The shrieking of Jaina’s chair earlier was nothing compared to the sound of everyone at the table moving back in unison as she and Sylvanas stepped up onto the table’s surface. It was a round, heavy, sturdy thing, sure to survive whatever damage it could sustain from a fistfight between two of the most powerful women in Azeroth. Frankly, Jaina couldn’t care less. It just wasn’t a Kul Tiran bar brawl unless someone was dancing on a tabletop, and while she wasn’t young or drunk enough to start this fight topless, the old reflexes were still there. Sylvanas was still wearing her leather gloves, each knuckle maliciously studded. It went some ways to evening the odds in Jaina’s mind; up close Sylvanas looked almost waifish, and Kul Tiras built women as sturdy as it built ships.

“What do I get if I win?” Sylvanas’ smug grin hadn’t left her face yet.

Lip curling, Jaina sneered. “You’re not going to win, so what do I care?”

With a tsk, a gentle staccato tap of her tongue against the backs of her teeth, Sylvanas shook her head. “Bravado does not become a woman of your station, Lady Proudmoore.”

“Shut the fuck up.” Jaina pointed at their feet. “First one to get knocked off the table forfeits.”

“Agreed.” Sylvanas’ voice had all but dropped to a purr.

Jaina raised her fists and Sylvanas raised hers. They circled each other slowly, every step creaking atop the wooden table. No one else in the room dared breathe out for fear of starting whatever was about to happen.

“We still didn’t agree on the stakes.” If it was possible, it seemed Sylvanas’ grin was getting wider. Jaina felt odd as the warchief looked her up and down, daring to break her gaze in an obvious power play. She ignored it.

Jaina bared her teeth. “If I win, you eat your words.”

“Excellent. And if I win, you eat me out.”

What, ” said someone in the background, but Jaina was already swinging for the Warchief’s face.

Sylvanas bobbed and weaved around Jaina’s attacks, showboating where she could, trying to bait Jaina into overcommitting to a punch. That strategy ended with the first blow Jaina managed to land on her face. Her Kul Tiran steel gauntlet rang like a ship’s bell, loud enough that the whole room flinched as the Banshee Queen was sent staggering back, dangerously close to the table’s edge. Her neck had twisted further than anything living could have survived and her jaw seemed to be hanging loose on one side. Jaina could have ended it then, another blow, a cheap shove and it would have been over. She didn’t want it to be over. She wanted to see what the Dark Lady had for her.

Sylvanas’ expression was thunderous when she turned back, but as her eyes locked once more with Jaina’s it shifted into something more unreadable, something hungry. Beyond the dislocated jaw, Jaina’s blow had opened a hideous gash in the side of her face, a dark green ichor dripping out too slowly to be blood with fresh bruises already forming beneath the skin. Jaina’s stomach rolled to see it, though she didn’t drop her guard. Sylvanas paid the cut no mind as she reached up and pushed her jaw back into place with a click of gristle. Sylvanas raised her fists once more and Jaina let out a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding, even as her pulse raced for more.

She got her wish. Sylvanas came back twice as fast, ducking under blows and circling around almost faster than Jaina could follow, it wasn’t long before a strike made it through her guard and straight into one of her ribs. She fell to one knee on the table, hissing her breath in through clenched teeth.

That was a broken rib, definitely. She wheezed and knew — those fucking gauntlets .

Over the harsh sound of her own breathing, Jaina barely heard snippets of a muttered conversation along the perimeter of the room. “Should we stop them? This is starting to get serious.”

“You want to get between them? Be my guest, Your Majesty.”

“Fuck that! A hundred gold pieces on the Warchief!”

“Gallywix, please.”

Sylvanas seemed to ignore the fact that they had an audience as well. Rather than secure her own victory, Sylvanas merely leaned over her, close enough that the drape of her hair brushed against Jaina’s cheek, making Jaina jerk back reflexively. “I must say, I quite like you kneeling.” Sylvanas’ voice was dark and husky, her taunts almost whispered. “Though, I would be remiss if I did not tell you that you can stop this any time you wish.”

Jaina staggered back to her feet and threw a sloppy left hook, easily blocked. She steadied herself against the other woman’s shoulder with her free hand, right as Sylvanas grabbed her waist to mercilessly squeeze her broken rib. She bit back a shout, baring her teeth with a snarl instead as she threw her weight into Sylvanas, barely pushing the Warchief back a half-step. The way they were touching each other was like some ridiculous parody of a waltz, still dancing on the tabletop, one way or another.

Jaina headbutted her. It didn’t seem to do much. Sylvanas’ head jerked back, but she looked back down at Jaina with an utterly expressionless look. Jaina was out of breath, but the Banshee Queen seemed unfazed, if not amused by her attempts. Snarling, Jaina raised her knee into a vicious blow at Sylvanas’ chest, a hit heavy enough to stagger a draft horse.

Sylvanas grunted, a small noise, brows furrowing slightly, as if only mildly inconvenienced by a knee that should’ve fractured her sternum were she alive enough to feel it. She gave Jaina an irritated little glare, and elbowed her sharply in the jaw.

“Fighting dirty, are we?” Sylvanas sang, grinning as Jaina spat blood. “You should’ve told me you liked foreplay.”

This fight was starting to feel like a very bad idea, like the kind of thing she would have done when she was a teenager in desperate need of a roll below deck. Now here she was, in front of the most powerful leaders in Azeroth, trying to achieve peace by fist-fighting the most attractive woman in the room on a table.

In a rush of blind fury and maybe a little bit of desperation, Jaina reached up, fisting the Warchief’s long hair into a vicious grip. She bore bloodied teeth as she yanked — hard , grinning at the way Sylvanas’ head snapped backwards violently.

It took Sylvanas all of two heartbeats to coil her own fingers into Jaina’s braid, talon-edged nails scraping painfully against her scalp as she tugged Jaina’s head back hard enough to jostle her.

Jaina let out a sharp gasp, her back forced into a painful arch as she tightened her grip on Sylvanas’ hair. Glowing red eyes flashed at her, a low noise reverberating in Sylvanas’ throat as Jaina only tightened her hold.

That was when Sylvanas kissed her. The kiss tasted of sharp iron accompanied by the clash of teeth. Shock coursed through Jaina like an electric jolt. She could feel the scratch of those taloned gloves against the back of her neck as Sylvanas tugged her closer. Jaina swallowed down a startled noise in the back of her throat, followed by a traitorous whimper as Sylvanas’ tongue tasted the blood in her mouth.

Instinct made her bite down. Sylvanas’ tongue moved as quickly as her fists, but Jaina was determined to leave a lasting taste in the Warchief’s mouth all the same. She caught Sylvanas’ lower lip between her teeth and tasted something too bitter to be blood, but too familiar to be anything else.

Then Sylvanas broke the kiss and in the second they were apart, Jaina saw the slow ooze of something dark green beading where her teeth had sunk. A wine-dark tongue darted out to lick at the wound, and that cruel, sharp, very attractive grin returned. Then Jaina was being shoved backwards. Then she was tripping over Sylvanas’ well-placed heel. Then she was falling, down, off the side of the table, onto the floor.

Like an idiot.

Blinking spots from her vision, Jaina looked up to find Sylvanas crouched atop the table, grinning down at Jaina, who stretched out on the floor beneath her. Her eyes gleamed an amused scarlet. “I believe that means the fight is mine,” she murmured with a keen-edged smile. “If you don’t mind, I’ll collect my winnings elsewhere. For now I’d like to request a brief recess, so that the Lord Admiral and I may compose ourselves before returning to the table.”

Leaping from the table, Sylvanas reached down, offering her hand to Jaina. “Up you come, Proudmoore.”

“I don’t need your help,” Jaina growled, swatting her hand away. She made to push herself upright, only barely smothering a groan of pain when her ribs creaked sharply in reproach.

Anduin braced her with a gentle hold, easing her back onto her feet. He peered down at Jaina worriedly, brows pulled into a stark replica of his father’s paternal disapproval. “Are you alright?”

She waved him off, stepping away from Anduin with only a slight stagger in her step. “Just fine,” she mumbled, wiping the blood off her chin with the back of her hand. She looked down at it and scowled. The sight of her own blood made the fury in her bones burn brighter; damn Sylvanas and her damned viper tongue, but damn her own stupid taste in women.

Regardless, Anduin grasped her softly by the shoulder. “Please?” he asked. “Allow me?”

With a sigh and a defeated nod, Jaina relented. Anduin closed his eyes. His fingers flared white, and light spilled into her, knitting her wounds shut, sliding her broken ribs back together until she could breathe properly again.

When he’d finished, Anduin stepped in front of Jaina and glared at the members of the Horde in the room. “What is the meaning of this?”

In one corner of the room, Gallywix was holding out his hand to Gelbin. “Pay up, short stuff.”

Lor’themar, who stood nearest to Anduin, lowered his voice and said discreetly, “Your Majesty, I didn’t think I’d be the one to give you this talk, but in my culture, when two people are — well —”

“Enough.” Sylvanas’ voice rang out, echoing with shadows. “We will continue our negotiations in due course, but for now the Lady Proudmoore and I have much to discuss.”

Without another word, Sylvanas gathered up her cloak, turned, and swept from the room. Lor’themar hesitated, but followed, whispering hushed words to his Warchief. Attendants were already hurrying to clean up the mess that had been made of the table’s surface and replacing various notes and scrolls that had been kicked around during the brawl. Shame and anger burning in her stomach, Jaina nevertheless lifted her chin. She could not bear to meet Anduin’s eye as she trudged after Sylvanas and Lor’themar, hastening her step to catch up.

In the long stone corridor, Sylvanas walked. She had swept the cloak over her shoulders and fixed it into place beneath her pauldrons once more. She shot a sidelong glance at Jaina upon hearing her approach. “Well, Lady Proudmoore, you do know how to show a woman a good time.” Sylvanas rubbed her jaw appreciatively, the gash still open on her face. Jaina’s cheeks burned despite herself.

“I know what we agreed to, Dark Lady,” Jaina prepared her ego for the shock of what was to come.

“Do you, now?” Sylvanas murmured. “The Felo’melorn has not been invoked in some time. I didn’t think I’d ever see such an ancient rite again, let alone partake in one.”

Jaina blustered past her own lack of knowledge, apart from the rough translation she understood. She’d covered for worse. “I’m sure we can come to a mutually agreeable arrangement.”

“I’m glad we’re of one mind,” Sylvanas nodded, looking straight ahead. “Such partnerships are best when both parties are in alignment.”

Jaina was relieved that at the very least, her actions had not jeopardised the fragile peace they’d all worked so hard for.

Lor’themar swept forward with a few hurried paces, placing himself just at Sylvanas’ elbow. He cast a glance at Jaina from across the Warchief and gave the woman a considering look. Clearing his throat, he spoke in an undertone, “Your pardon, Warchief, but...are you certain we should proceed with the rite?”

Sylvanas gave him a lingering sidelong glance. “Do you object, Lord Regent?”

“Not at all,” Lor’themar replied quickly, straightening his back and staring ahead impassively. “I’m merely questioning the validity of it…” his one eye slid over towards Jaina again, and the woman bristled at him. “...given that one of you seems to be... not entirely aware of its...significance.”

Sylvanas shrugged. “The Lord Admiral says she knows. Don’t you, Proudmoore?” She glanced over, and Jaina was ready to punch her again.

“I said so, didn’t I?” Jaina bit out.

Lor’themar blinked, and then lowering his voice, he clarified. “You cannot be serious, Warchief.”

“Serious as the grave.”

“And you don’t feel like telling her that she just—” Trailing off, he cast a glance over his shoulder at Jaina, who was trailing behind them.

Sylvanas flashed a grin. “That pleasure will be mine alone, Lord Regent, but for our dearest Lord Admiral’s sake I believe we should have some privacy first. Such affairs are very personal, are they not?”

Lor’themar tried to regain his composure and failed. This peace was already proving more damaging to his health than open warfare. He cleared his throat and said loudly enough that Jaina could hear, “I see, Dark Lady. In that case, I’ll begin making preparations.”

Puzzled, Jaina watched him bow and depart. “What preparations?”

Rather than answer, Sylvanas stopped to push open a door along the corridor. She scanned the private room for inhabitants, then stood aside to let Jaina pass. Wary, Jaina hesitated before entering the room; the moment she did so, Sylvanas shut the door and they were alone.

Jaina crossed to the other side of the room, as far from Sylvanas and the doorway as she could. The arched windows streamed with light from the late afternoon sun, casting the room in a wintry pall. Outside rain clouds gathered, and Jaina was tempted to open one of the windows, to feel the comfort of ice and water in the air. Instead, she crossed her arms and tried to ignore the way Sylvanas’ eyes burned into her.

“What preparations?” Jaina repeated, her voice hardening.

Sylvanas took a step further into the room, but paused near a table in the centre, draped in pale cloth. A vase bristled with roses that had been gathered from the monument gardens of Dalaran. She admired them for a moment before drawing a single rose out for inspection. Jaina was transfixed as the flower’s petals flared momentarily before wilting and finally breaking free, drifting down onto the table one by one. After they were gone, Sylvanas breathed in deeply and closed her eyes in an ecstasy that seemed to be nothing more than a cruel mockery of smelling the dead flower until her head tilted back down and Jaina saw its effect.

The gash that Jaina had opened was already sealing itself, muscle knitting back together under the skin. Around the cut itself bruises were retreated back one capillary at a time till she could hardly tell at all that she’d been hit. It was a display that was as terrifying and beautiful as it was subtle, and it made two things very apparent. Firstly, that Sylvanas was aware of how closely Jaina was watching her, and secondly, that Jaina had very little idea what this woman was capable of.

Sylvanas flexed her healed cheek, settled into a knowing smirk and handed the dead flower stem over to Jaina. Jaina took it without thinking, examining it in disbelief for the fews seconds it was in her hand before it crumbled away to dust and slipped through her fingers.

“In more barbaric times, my people created certain—” Sylvanas waved one hand in a dismissive gesture, “—customs around settling very particular disputes. Who should provide what to whose family. Whose soldiers would fight under which banner. Which party would be taking the other’s last name. Silly things, with simple solutions.”

“Solutions like fists?” Jaina asked dryly.

Sylvanas hummed a wordless note, then said. “And steel. It is a matter of blood, after all.”

“I thought we spilled enough blood today. Or weren’t these negotiations supposed to be about peace?”

“You should’ve thought of that before clambering atop that table,” Sylvanas replied. “Rest assured: these negotiations may secure a far more important kind of peace. Though that depends on you.”

“Get to the point,” Jaina growled.

Rolling her eyes, Sylvanas continued, “Your blood. My blood.” She made a show of running her fingers along her own lip, coming away with dark green smeared across the tips of them. She held them up for Jaina to see. “Our blood. It is a matter of shared interests. Of family. Of—”

Before she could continue droning on, Jaina interrupted, “I didn’t come here for a lecture on elven culture. Let’s just get this over with.”

Sylvanas’ eyebrows rose. “Get this over with?” she repeated, incredulous.

“Yes.” Striding over to the sparse furnishings, Jaina dropped heavily onto the only armchair. She rubbed at her forehead, refusing to look at Sylvanas, refusing to see the smug expression that was doubtlessly crossing that face. “I said I would, didn’t I? I lost, and I’m not backing down. Certainly not to you.”

She did look up at Sylvanas then to glare. Sure enough, Sylvanas was biting back a smile, head cocked, tapping at her cheek in a contemplative fashion. What Jaina hadn’t been expecting was the somewhat bemused cast to Sylvanas’ expression, as if Jaina were a lamb that had wandered into the lion’s den.

“My,” Sylvanas said with almost breathless wonder. Her eyes were sparkling much too bright and predatory for Jaina’s liking. “You really have no idea what you’re walking into, do you?”

“If standing there and listening to yourself talk will get you off, then by all means,” Jaina shot back, waving a hand at Sylvanas. “I don’t know; maybe that’s your idea of foreplay.”

“In life, I would’ve settled for a glass of wine and a fine meal,” Sylvanas drawled.

Jaina rolled her eyes, shifting impatiently in her seat. “Well, you can either settle for my mouth or another punch to the face. Your pick.”

Sylvanas tsked. “You’ll put your hands to good use soon enough, Proudmoore. Be patient. Isn’t it tradition, after all, to wait until after the ceremony?”

Again— that coy little smirk, like Sylvanas knew something Jaina apparently didn’t. She was growing tired of it.

“At this point,” Jaina enunciated between clenched teeth, fingers flexing over the armrests of the chair. “I really don’t give a shit about your traditions and ceremonies, Warchief .”

With a chuckle, Sylvanas stepped closer. Her long cloak brushed against her heels as she walked. With every step that she drew nearer, Jaina could feel herself grow more tense. Hands clasped behind her back, Sylvanas stopped when she stood close enough to touch, when her cloak whispered against the side of Jaina's thigh. Her voice was silky when she murmured, “You're in my seat.”

Jaina opened her mouth to deliver a scathing retort, only to shut her mouth again. Glowering, she stood and stepped to the side. She gave Sylvanas a mock bow towards the chair.

Without a word, Sylvanas sat. Though Jaina was now standing over her, Sylvanas still seemed in her element. She tilted her head back to look Jaina up and down, then said, “Well? Didn’t you want to ‘Get this over with’ as you so eloquently put it?”

“You’re still in your armour,” Jaina pointed out.

“Then I suppose you’d best do something about that. Unless—” Sylvanas gestured towards the door. “—you would like to forever hold your peace? I’m not unreasonable, you know.”

Jaina bared her teeth. “Not on your life.”

Sylvanas hummed a soft laugh. “Oh, you’re far too late for that.”

Fuming silently, Jaina began to first unbuckle her own gauntlet. She tossed it to the ground, where it clattered, then stripped off both gloves and rolled up her sleeves. Sylvanas watched with eyes that burned like living flame as Jaina sank to her knees with as defiant an expression as she could muster.

Quickly and efficiently, Jaina unbuckled the faulds from Sylvanas’ cuirass and discarded them. She had to reach between Sylvanas’ legs in order to get at the clasps of her cuisses, and Sylvanas lifted her hips somewhat to accommodate her. Greaves next, but Jaina fumbled at the hooks of her sabatons.

When she heard a noise that sounded suspiciously like a light laugh, Jaina scowled. “You’re really not going to help?”

Sylvanas’ face gave away nothing, but her voice lilted in amusement. “No.”

Tearing the sabatons and boots free, Jaina muttered a few choice curses under her breath that would have made any hardened sailor blush as she threw them into the growing pile of armour and clothes. Sylvanas offered no rebuke for mistreating her belongings. Instead, she thrummed her fingers of one hand against an armrest, clawed fingertips tapping out a steady almost bored rhythm while Jaina tugged at the drawstrings of her leather breeches. Then, Jaina was peeling those breeches down her long legs and kneeling between her thighs.

Jaina grasped one of Sylvanas’ knees. The greyish skin was cool to the touch, warming slowly beneath Jaina’s hands. It surprised her to see the slight smear of wetness along the crease of the Warchief’s thigh, the darkened flush of folds beneath a spread of pale hair.

A low coil of heat built in her belly, and Jaina swallowed as subtly as she should. She leaned forward, but Sylvanas caught her chin in a firm grip. A gloved thumb smoothed over her lower lip and when she allowed her mouth to open, Sylvanas pushed forward, finding less resistance than she seemed to expect. The metallic tip of her glove pressed against Jaina’s tongue, just hard enough to be known but not enough to pierce the skin, and Jaina’s mouth was filled with the taste of leather and cold iron. She could not keep her eyes from flitting closed, despite herself, even for just a moment.

“I hope you know what you’re doing. I’d hate to be disappointed now,” Sylvanas said, withdrawing her hand and leaning back in the chair. Her gaze remained steady on Jaina. Like an invitation. Like a challenge.

Glaring back, Jaina tightened her hold on Sylvanas’ thighs and yanked her forward, tilting the Warchief’s hips into a position she preferred. “I hope you live up to the reputation,” Jaina murmured casually, sliding a finger along the length of her seam, spreading them enough to expose the faint purple hue of her folds. “Being the Banshee Queen and all.” She pressed in one finger to the first knuckle, crooking it slightly forwards into the grooves of Sylvanas’ inner walls.

She curled her finger harder, slipping a second beside it, and smirked at the ripple of muscles clenching down on her fingers. “What is it they say here? Lay back and think of Lordaeron?” She leaned forward and pressed a wet, open-mouth kiss on Sylvanas’ clit, circling it with the firm tip of her tongue.

Gauntleted fingers curled tight into her hair. “Enough talking.”

Jaina smothered her triumphant grin against the velvet heat of Sylvanas’ rapidly warming centre. She began with earnest, savouring the heady taste of the Warchief as she pressed her fingers in and down, lapping the flat of her tongue over Sylvanas’ entrance and tracing a series of patterns up and over her clit, and then back down again. Wetness was building around her fingers the more she thrust them, and Jaina hummed with approval as she paused, suckling hard against the pulsing bud of Sylvanas’ clit before she pressed in a third finger.

The grip on her hair was getting almost too painful to ignore now, but when she looked up, Sylvanas’ expression had hardly shifted from its amused smirk. She eased the pressure of her mouth, only to have Sylvanas’ vice grip pin her into place.

“Finish what you started.” Her mocking tone galled, but for all the fire and fury in Jaina’s veins, she could feel the slickness of her own thighs and a tell-tale throbbing ache building.

To spite her, Jaina pulled her mouth away, sinking her teeth along the crease of Sylvanas’ thigh, scraping the sharp edge of her canines into skin just deep enough to leave a blooming path of marks in their wake. She worked her fingers relentlessly, mouthing and sucking the soft skin of the Warchief’s thigh, tracing the tip of her thumb over the swollen clit and smirking when a muscle in Sylvanas’ hips twitched.

Sylvanas’ chest remained eerily still as Jaina worked her mouth back down, as if she had forgotten to perform the facsimile of breathing. She hooked her heel into Jaina’s back and dug in, pressing Jaina closer to her destination. Jaina stalled, nipping at the skin of Sylvanas’ thigh. It wasn’t until something like a growl was strangled behind Sylvanas’ teeth, that Jaina lowered her mouth to where it was so obviously wanted.

The last thing Jaina expected was for Sylvanas to let out a soft sigh. She had expected Sylvanas’ heel to drive into her spine. She had expected clenched fangs and a sharp thrust of hips. Instead, Sylvanas carefully gathered back Jaina’s hair from where it had fallen from her braid during their fight.

Jaina pulled away slightly. “You like this.”

Sylvanas eyes snapped to hers. When she spoke, her tone was dry, but she could not keep out a husky note, “Whatever gave you that impression?”

In answer, Jaina pressed her fingers into the grooved wall just above her entrance, and Sylvanas’ composure almost broke. “Just a hunch.”

“Are you so eager for me to praise you?”

With a huff of self-deprecating laughter, Jaina muttered, “That would be a first.”

Jaina ducked her head, and the moment her tongue began to trace and retrace familiar patterns over Sylvanas’ clit she was rewarded with a warm purr of satisfaction. Taloned fingers scraped over her scalp in a frisson-inducing caress, the deadly edge of one finger tracing the shell of her ear. Jaina suppressed a shiver, focusing intently on the generous flow of wetness coming from Sylvanas, but even through the rush of blood in her ears, she could make out the low croon of Sylvanas' lilting voice.

"Good girl."

The sudden flush of heat between Jaina’s legs made her groan. Her tongue circled faster, and she fumbled with her free hand at her own robes. Jaina panted as she slid her fingers down and found herself drenched.

The hand in her hair tightened, claws digging into Jaina’s scalp in a silent warning. “I don’t recall the deal involving mutual satisfaction,” Sylvanas said, her voice sounding strained.

“Fuck your deal,” Jaina gasped, trapping her clit between two fingers and rubbing the way she liked best.

A rush of sensation bombarded her; the heady taste and scent of Sylvanas surrounding her, the frantic pulsing of her own body building into a faint sheen of sweat over her skin. She slicked her fingers down, crooking them just barely inside herself, and slid soaking fingers back over her clit with a full-bodied shudder.

Sylvanas resumed her grip on Jaina’s hair, tugging her sharply back into place. “If you finish before I do, there will be punishment ,” she warned.

Jaina smothered her gasp into Sylvanas’ skin, mouthing along the Warchief’s entrance and nuzzling into the plush heat once more. She doubled her efforts, focusing on the hard swell of Sylvanas’ clit, alternating between licks and sucks and then finally clamping down with almost vicious suction on the hood of her clit.

Sylvanas gave a low hiss, a growl at the end of it as her hips bucked forward eagerly. Her hand stroked Jaina’s hair back again before she ground her hips selfishly into Jaina’s gasping mouth.

Her fingers were seized in a violent clench of muscle, walls fluttering and gripping at a frantic pace as the clit beneath her tongue pulsed hard. She twirled her fingers, scissoring them open and then curling them again, the hand between her own legs matching the pace its twin had set. She could feel it prickling, building, cresting—

Above her, Sylvanas spoke in a choked, high growl. “ Proudmoore .”

Stars burst behind her eyelids, a whimper caught and throttled in her throat as her trembling thighs clamped down on her own hand. Jaina writhed against the tremors consuming her, tearing her mouth away from Sylvanas to pant and sob against the slick skin of her thigh. Tears burned at the corners of her eyes as her fingers curled and uncurled instinctively inside herself, muscles twitching with overstimulation as she sagged against Sylvanas’ leg.

She pulled her fingers free from Sylvanas with a wet, lewd sound, and Sylvanas twitched in response. Jaina panted between Sylvanas’ legs, catching her breath. She whined when she pulled her other hand away, fingers slipping free. Strands of hair stuck to her temples. Still shaking somewhat, Jaina wiped her hands on the side of the chair cushion with a grimace. They’d have to get someone in here to clean up as well.

She started, when she felt a touch on her face. With an almost tender kind of affection, Sylvanas wiped Jaina’s chin. She gently tilted Jaina’s face up to kiss her. Jaina swayed forward, before Sylvanas’ tongue darted out, licking the taste of herself from Jaina’s mouth.

Felo’melorn,” Sylvanas murmured, their lips brushing with every syllable. “It means ‘Flamestrike’.”

Jaina pulled back, brushing Sylvanas’ hand aside, but did not rise from where she knelt. “I know that much at least. Do you really think my Thalassian is so bad that I don’t—”

Sylvanas continued as if she hadn’t interrupted. “The implication of course being marriage.”

“—know how to translate— wait, what?”

A chill shot down Jaina’s spine. Her eyes widened, and Sylvanas watched her growing realisation with amusement. This time when Sylvanas reached down to comb her fingers through Jaina’s hair, Jaina was too stunned to rebuke her touch. It seemed odd, but Sylvanas carding her hands through her hair was a far more intimate act than what had just transpired.

“You proposed to me,” Sylvanas said softly, “in front of a roomful of witnesses, according to some of my people’s most ancient traditions. Quite passionately, some might say.”

“You’re—” Jaina had to stamp down the urge to slump back on her heels, to show any sign of weakness. “You’re joking.”

“I assure you, I am not. You can ask the Lord Regent, if you don’t believe me.”

Shaking her head, Jaina said, “That won’t be necessary.”

Sylvanas was silent while Jaina mulled over the implications of what she’d done. Chewing at her lower lip, Jaina tried — and failed — to ignore the way Sylvanas continued to comb through Jaina’s hair, tucking a stray lock behind her ear. Jaina’s hands clenched, digging into the smooth skin of Sylvanas’ thighs, though Sylvanas did not even twitch. Finally, Jaina pushed herself upright and said, “So, according to some bullshit ancient elven custom, we fought and spilt blood, and that makes us engaged?”

Leaning back into the cushions of the armchair, Sylvanas shrugged. “More or less, though these days it is not considered a binding contract.” She paused, then added, “Yet.”

Jaina’s head spun. She pinched the bridge of her nose and squeezed her eyes shut in an attempt to steady herself. “But it could be binding?”

“Of course,” Sylvanas replied mildly. “What would the point be for all the pomp and circumstance if not a binding ceremony?”

Jaina chewed hard on the edge of her lip, tongue flicking idly to clean away the remaining taste of Sylvanas. She caught herself in the next moment, shaking her head with a jerk as she thrust out her chin again. “So, if I agreed to the binding, would that make me your lawful wedded wife?”

Heaving a sigh, Sylvanas moved her hand in an ‘and so forth’ motion in time with her rolling eyes. “In sickness and in health and what have you, yes. Surely you understand how a marriage works?”

“And as your lawfully wedded wife, I’d have some legal rights over the rebuilding and sanctions of New Lordaeron and its people?”

Now it was Sylvanas’ turn for shocked silence. When Jaina looked down it was to find Sylvanas staring up at her, stock-still. “Don’t be a fool.”

“It’s not often I’m called a fool, I’ll grant you that,” Jaina said. “But since we are still technically in negotiations—”

Teeth flashing, Sylvanas hissed, “Take your own advice and eat your words. Swallow your pride, Lord Admiral. I will not hold you to an engagement that you did not knowingly enter, and I will not entertain this farce if it means jeopardising what tentative peace we have managed to secure.”

“If it’s a farce that finally gets both factions over the line and anchors us to peace, then it’s a farce I’m willing to consider,” Jaina countered, then added with a grimace, “even if it was completely by accident.”

Sylvanas narrowed her eyes. She was still sprawled in the chair, looking far less composed than she had earlier. Without preamble, she rose to her feet, then picked up her breeches and began to dress herself.

“I hope you know,” Sylvanas spoke as she tied the drawstrings of her breeches at her waist, “that you’re completely mad.”

“But you’re considering it?”

Sylvanas stamped her feet back into her boots, pulling the supple leather up to her knees. For a moment she said nothing, bending down to pick up her armour and buckle each piece laboriously into place. As she hooked her faulds over her hips, Sylvanas announced, “We will need to discuss the terms of the contract with the others. I will not have New Lordaeron founded on unequal footing. If there’s to be peace, it must be lasting and it must be fair, or there will be war again. And after the last decade, I think we can all agree we’re tired of that old song.”

Jaina’s mouth went dry. She felt light-headed, as if Sylvanas had just punched her in the gut again. “That’s— Sylvanas, that’s more than just considering it.”

The last of her armour re-affixed, Sylvanas drawled, “So, you do know my name. I hear that’s a good start to these sorts of relationships.”

Before Sylvanas could head towards the door, Jaina grabbed her by the wrist. Sylvanas raised an eyebrow, and Jaina released her. “Sorry —I mean—” Shaking her head, Jaina said, “Are you being serious? I can never tell.”

“Now, you sound like Lor’themar,” Sylvanas sniffed. “How unappealing.”

Jaina’s jaw set in a stubborn line. “I mean it, Sylvanas. You said it yourself: if we’re going to do this, then it needs to be lasting and fair, otherwise we might as well just forget this ever happened. Put it behind us.”

“And you’d really be willing to give yourself up for such a bleak vision of — what?” Sylvanas sneered. “Fairness?”

Jaina slipped her grip from Sylvanas’ arm to her wrist and guided it between her thighs. If the ranger’s hand felt cool through her glove, then she was certain her own warmth was readily apparent. “Does it seem like I’m unwilling? Or would you like to go another round so I can prove my point?”

Sylvanas hummed a contemplative note, but did not withdraw her hand. “Fists or fingers, Lady Proudmoore?”

“Let’s save fists for the tabletop. Or the honeymoon. Your pick.”

A dark chuckle escaped Sylvanas then. She pulled her hand away. “The thought of putting this behind us had crossed my mind,” she mused. “But then I remembered an old human expression about birds and stones. And one other thing as well.”

Jaina frowned in confusion. “And what’s that?”

Leaning in close, Sylvanas lowered her voice to a conspiratorial whisper, “I never could resist a woman with an excellent right hook.”

Jaina couldn’t help herself. She laughed. It was an incredulous, belly-deep laugh that rocked her to her toes. Sylvanas watched, wearing her own smug, lopsided grin. Then, she opened the door and offered her arm to Jaina. “Shall we deliver the happy news? I must say, I’m looking forward to all the outrage and scandal that old wolf can muster.”

Still chuckling, Jaina placed her hand on Sylvanas’ arm. Together they walked down the hall. With every step, the absurdity and unquestionable reality of the situation settled around Jaina’s neck like a lodestone.

What on earth was she thinking?

Oh, Tides. What would her mother say?

“Don’t tell me you’re getting cold feet already, Lady Proudmoore.”

At the sound of Sylvanas’ mocking tone, Jaina bristled with indignation and the residue of fury that still simmered beneath her skin. Her head whipped around to glare at Sylvanas, who was eyeing her askance as they continued towards their destination.

In answer, Jaina dug her fingers into the underside of Sylvanas’ forearm, where the bracers left a gap of leather. “I want a gold band for my ring.”

Sylvanas sighed as if put upon, but her gaze glinted bright with mischief. “I see the negotiations have already started, and we’re not even in the war room yet.”

“And I want the ceremony to be somewhere in the Broken Isles. Preferably Dalaran.”

“Suramar,” Sylvanas insisted with a slight sneer. “Not Dalaran.”

Jaina made a face. “The Legion’s invasion still scars the city.”

“You can’t see it inside the walls. And the portal system will ensure everyone can attend without issue.”

“Bullshit. You just want it in a Horde city.”

Continuing on as if Jaina hadn’t spoken, Sylvanas said, “It will be an excellent opportunity to show how we have persevered in the past. I want it somewhere elven at the very least, but Silvermoon is too conspicuously allied to me, and Darnassus is—”

Sylvanas trailed off, wrinkling her nose and making a vague gesture with her free hand.

“Off the table?” Jaina finished for her wryly. Then she shook her head. “Fine. Suramar. But only if it’s in the gardens.”

At that, Sylvanas glowered. “I’m not sure if you noticed, but I exactly don’t play nicely with living vegetation.”

“It’s called ‘a compromise.’ You should try it sometime.”

With a derisive snort, Sylvanas nevertheless conceded, “I hope you enjoy dead flowers in your bouquet.”

Jaina glanced at her sidelong, scowling knowingly. “If you willfully ruin my wedding bouquet at the ceremony, I’m freezing your ears off. I doubt sniffing flowers would heal that .”

Said ears flicked irritably as Sylvanas rolled her eyes. “And next, I’d suppose you’ll insist on the top tier of the cake being vanilla and the bottom tier being chocolate, and there being at least three tiers —”

“Five tiers.”

“Oh, wonderful.”

Jaina shrugged unapologetically. “Yes, I think so.” She hooked her hand tighter on Sylvanas’ arm, leaning her weight into the hold as she turned to look at other woman. She gave a passing thought to risk and pressed a fleeting kiss into the Warchief’s cheek, earning a bewildered look in response.

“I think you might be having too much fun with this idea, Lady Proudmoore. This is a commitment that could change the very face of Azeroth.”

“That I entered into unknowingly by punching you in the face.”

Sylvanas hummed. “Point taken.”

Opening her mouth to respond, Jaina fell silent when they at last approached the war room. Instead, she steeled herself with a deep breath and muttered under her breath, “Let’s get this over with.”

Sylvanas said nothing, but a dark smile tugged at the corner of her mouth as she and Jaina entered the war room.

The recess had long finished. Lor’themar, Thalyssra, and Anduin were engaged in conversation. Nathanos and Genn brooded on opposite sides of the room, as far from one another as they could get while still being in the same vicinity. Baine and Tyrande exchanged quiet words with Magni and Gelbin and Gallywix, Baine stooping to hear what was being said. The moment Jaina and Sylvanas entered the room together, a hush fell across the room, and every set of eyes turned upon them. Genn’s nose twitched.

The table at the centre of the room had been cleaned in their absence, but Jaina could still spot a small splatter of her blood on the floor that the servants had missed. Something darker speckled the stones as well. Jaina found she couldn’t tear her gaze away from the only remaining evidence of their fight.

Sylvanas brought her attention back to the present with a low clearing of her throat. Jaina glanced up at her, a question in her eyes, and Sylvanas asked, “Shall we?”