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“Would you stop moving,” Lysithea demands. “You’re making this so much more difficult for yourself.”

That’s the thing, Balthus thinks, chasing the smile off his face and settling back against the mattress. He loves making things more difficult for himself, it’s his fucking signature by now. She should know that better than anybody.

“Which, come to think of it,” Lysithea says, checking the ropes around his wrists one last time, “that should not surprise me.”

“There we go,” Balthus says, tugging on them. “These are great, sweetheart, get to the good stuff.” He grins up at her and wriggles his fingers. “I promise I’ll tell you if I can’t feel my extremities.”

Lysithea crosses her arms over her chest. “They’re not tied that tight. You’ve gotten yourself out of worse situations.” Her mouth ticks up at the corner. “It’s your metaphorical problems you can’t seem to escape.”

Balthus laughs outright. His little murder mage is a firecracker, that’s for sure. “You ain’t wrong about that, pretty girl. But you are wrong about me wanting to get out of this. Who would argue, bein’ tied up for you?”

“Literally everyone but you,” she says, which is silly if you ask him. She’s gorgeous and scary, all this power wrapped up in a deceptively tiny package, who wouldn’t want to lay down and let her have her wicked way with them?

Some fool, that’s for sure. And Balthus is a lot of things, and a fool is definitely one of them, but today, right now, he’s a lucky one; spread out naked, cock ring in place, Lysithea staring at him like he’s a feast made entirely out of desserts.

“You okay?” he asks, because when she goes for the ropes and the cock ring and all the control, there’s usually a reason. Balthus would like to think he’s just that hot, and maybe that’s part of it, but they’re at the tail end of a war and he knows she’s pushing at the edges of her powers even if she’d rather drop dead than admit it.

“I’ve been better.” Lysithea never lies, and she only very rarely lets tact soften the blunt edges of her personality, but that’s fine. Balthus likes her when she’s sharp like this, all that dark magic bleeding out at the edges. He’s always had a thing for a danger, and she’s about as dangerous as it gets.

Her fingers lightly stroke over a fresh wound at his side, mostly-healed but still an angry red, and she sighs. “You throw yourself at Imperial soldiers like you’re daring them to stab you, do you know that?”

“Well,” Balthus says, shivering at the touch of her fingers on his skin. “I kind of am. I mean, ain’t that how war works? All those fancy tactics kinda come down to hit first and hope they don’t get up to hit you back.”

“Profound.” There’s a faint glow as she heals up the wound, even though there’s not much to be done about it anymore. “Maybe you should teach the tactics classes.”

“I’d just stare at you in that cute dress,” Balthus says, and laughs when she huffs and rolls her eyes like he’s just told her he’s going to be the next archbishop. “Don’t worry about me, darlin’. Gonna take more than some Imperial dickweed with a spear to knock ol’ Balthus out of the party.”

That earns him a smart little smack right on his dick. “Don’t talk about yourself in the third person. Or mix your metaphors.”

“Okay,” Balthus says, but he’s not real sure what a metaphor is, or what the hell she means about mixing them. She reads a lot of books, his murder mage. Some are on her desk right now, probably full of nicely-organized metaphors all involving the right number of people.

“Spread your legs,” Lysithea says, bossily, giving him another little smack on his cock before she steps back to take off her dress. She’s getting that intense stare, the one that says he’s in for a good time, so he does as bidden and spreads his legs as wide as he can.

In her bed, that means he’s got one leg pressed against the far wall and his other foot on the floor. She gets almost all the way naked, glances at him, sighs, and pulls her chemise off so her breasts are bare.

Balthus whistles. “Thanks for that.”

“I suppose it’s fine.” She climbs on the bed, his tiny creature of peril and pettiness, and kneels in her stockings and underwear between his spread legs. “I saw a man the other night, near the stables. He was leaning against the building, and he had his pants down.” Her face goes a little pink. “He was. Touching himself.”

“Yeah? Was he hot?” Balthus waggles his eyebrows at her. “Did you watch?”

“I don’t know, I couldn’t see his face. Probably not,” she says, slaying this poor nighttime self-pleasurer on the sharp edge of her tactlessness. “But I could see his cock. It wasn’t very impressive.”

Balthus grins at her. “Told you mine would ruin you for any other specimen.”

“I don’t know about that, but. I did notice the disparity. I haven’t seen very many when they’re hard.” She draws two of her slim fingers up his length, watching as his cock twitches. “There was a man in the healer’s tent the other day, too.” She rubs her thumb over the head.

“Checking out a guy’s package when he’s hurt, that ain’t exactly fair, Lysithea.”

She glances up at him and shrugs. “He was dead. I don’t think he’ll mind.”

Balthus stares momentarily up at the ceiling. “Any of those smart books over there teach you how to talk dirty? You’re real smart, pretty girl, but talkin’ about dead guy’s dicks isn’t really doing it for me.”

“You’re getting hard,” she points out.

“That’d be you being mostly naked and rubbing your cute little hand all over me, not your conversation.”

“What I was going to say,” she says, a little loudly, “is that I noticed his -” she drops her hand, rubs over his balls. “These. They weren’t on par with yours, either.”

“You saw a dead guy’s balls and compared them to mine? Damn, Lysithea. Don’t know if I’m flattered or freaked out.” Come to think of it, that was sort of how she made him feel a lot.

“I wasn’t trying to flatter you by saying they’re large, just making an observation.” She rubs her fingers over them, lightly. Too lightly for his preference, really, but like he’s going to, what, complain? “Are there...advantages? To have larger ones.”

She’s very curious, Lysithea. Their first time, she was so fascinated by the mechanics of his dick getting hard that she insisted on giving him a handjob while she sat on his face, just so she could watch him come all over himself.

So that’s what it looks like. Interesting. Then she rode his face and came three times in a row, so whatever, she could be as curious as she wanted as far as he was concerned.

“Advantages to what, huh? My balls being big?” Balthus’ shoulders start shaking. “You bet your cute, perfect tits there are.”

The look she gives him would strip rust off steel. “Such as?”

He licks his lips and watches her start to stroke his cock. “Throwin’ myself right at Imperial soldiers, maybe?”

“That’s why you’re a reckless idiot in battle? Because you have big -- these?” She drops her hand and cups them, squeezes enough that he hisses and arches up a little. Her eyes widen. “Did you like that?”

“Hmm, better do it again so we can know for sure,” he teases. “Also, why’s it so funny that you can’t say balls?”

“It’s a ridiculous name for a body part, that’s why,” she says, primly, like she’s an eighty-year-old nun. “It’s like they’re -- toys, or something. To be played with.”

“Well, since I ain’t a dead guy in a tent or a sad sack jackin’ off by myself, that’s in fact exactly what they are.” This is only half-true; Balthus jacks off by himself all the time, and he does, in fact, play with his balls when he does it. “So, go ahead and play with ‘em all you want. See what happens. In know what else they’re called?”

She sighs, but she’s rolling them between her fingers now, and increasing the pressure enough so she can watch what it does to his cock - namely, how it gets harder against his stomach even though she’s no longer touching it. “What?”

“Nuts.” Balthus snorts a laugh. “That make you wanna put ‘em in your mouth, sweet thing?”

Lysithea laughs. It’s a soft sound, and not one he hears all that often, and it makes him smile to hear her do it just for him. “Maybe if you’d said they were also called candy.”

“Should’ve seen that one coming,” he says, and settles back. “Go on, but do me a favor, yeah? Talk less about dead people and more about how big they are.”

“You’re the talker, Balthus. Not me.” She slides her whole hand down and cups them. “Should I be gentler? Don’t men cry like babies when you hit them, here?”

“Yeah, there’s a nice happy medium there, you know, between hitting a man in the balls and playing with them. But no, gentle isn’t -- you can be a little rougher. A lot rougher, actually -- mm, there you go.” He inhales sharply as she tightens her hand. “Cup them, roll them around like -- good, yeah, little tighter --”

“Huh,” she says, rubbing. “At least I see why they call them that, now.”

“Lysithea, you’re killing me. And not that I wouldn’t rather go out in bed with a hot girl playin’ with my balls than -- just about any other way I could think of, really -- we really gotta work on your pillow talk.”

“Like I said. You’re the one who’s good at talking.” She stops and reaches up for his cock instead, sliding her hand over it, placing her other hand between his legs to press against his balls. “Do you like this?”

“Yeah, feels good,” he says. “Why don’t you get my cock nice and wet?”

“Hmm. All right.” She leans down, and Lysithea sucks cock like she does everything else; with intent and determination, moving her head and using her tongue, remembering every single thing she’d learned from the first time.

Which had been a lot of really delicious edging, when it came down to it; she’d do something, stop, ask him what else to try, go back to it, stop, repeat. By the time she’d let him come, he’d almost blacked out from how intense it was after being denied that long.

“You could suck on them, if you wanted,” he says, now, tugging on the ropes. “My balls.”

She lifts her head, unbound hair tickling at his thighs, and studies him. “Can you come this way? Just someone playing with them, I mean.”

It’s sort of become his newest goal in life to make her say balls. Or his second goal, since the first one is getting off, obviously. And he really does want to fuck her at some point, he gets off all the time thinking about it.

Which, maybe she’d like to hear about. Can’t hurt to try. She says he’s good at talking, which must mean she likes it, right? “Sometime, I’ll get you on your hands and knees. Fuck you hard from behind, and they’ll smack you in that pretty cunt of yours.”

She gives him a suspicious look, like he just told her he could single-handedly skin a giant wolf and turn it into a coat, slippers, and a nice rug for the hearth before dinner.

“You talk a big game, Balthus,” she says, and rubs her hand over his slick cock, pressing in just a bit with her palm against his balls.

He smiles. “As big as my --”

“Stop,” she says, severely, but he sees the smile before she ducks and puts her mouth on his sac.

Balthus moans. He loves having his balls played with, and while she’s still being a little too gentle, it’s teasing instead of frustrating -- for the moment. “You can work those a little harder, sweetheart.” He’d say you can’t really break ‘em but Lysithea, yeah, she totally could.

Lysithea pulls off, replacing her mouth with her hand. She squeezes, rolls his balls around her palm, then tugs her hand down. That makes him hiss out a breath and his cock twitch against his stomach. “But you didn’t answer my question. Can you? Come from this.” She emphasizes it with another tug.

“I, ah,” Balthus says, the head of his cock starting to become slick with pre-come. “Don’t think so, with the ring on it like that. You’d have to probably have something in my ass.”

“Something in your ass,” she repeats, so deadpan that Balthus laughs. “Such as? My fingers?”

“Mmm, maybe, but I meant a dick.” He inhales sharply as her touch becomes less careful, rougher in a way that is really doing it for him.

“I don’t have one of my own, but I bet I know who could tell me where to find one,” she says.

Balthus raises his head a bit and peers down at her. “Well, well, color me intrigued. Who?”

“That’s for me to know and you to find out.” She pauses, then holds his cock against his stomach and gives his balls a little smack.

Fuck,” Balthus says, then huffs a laugh. “Why’s it so fitting you’re the first person who’s ever ball-smacked me?”

“You’re just that lucky.” She sounds pretty pleased about it. He figured she would be.

For a few long minutes there’s no talking, just the sound of Balthus’ heavy breathing as Lysithea amuses herself by rolling his balls in her small hand, tugging them, pulling down and pressing her palm against them.

“Feels good,” he says, hips pushing up a bit. “If you didn’t have that ring on my cock, we might be in trouble.”

“You do like this, then,” she says, and there’s a flush on her face, her breasts, that lets him know he’s not the only one affected. After a few more slaps and tugs on his balls, she shifts so she’s lying between his legs and starts using her mouth on him.

Balthus is gasping, panting up at the ceiling and, when she gives his sac a particularly hard suck, he kicks his heel against the floor and moans loudly.

Her mouth moves up his dick and then she’s sucking on the head of it, licking at the precome there and pressing her breasts against his balls. It feels fucking amazing, and Balthus’ cock swells in her mouth as he tries to keep from thrusting up and making her choke.

He likes that, but it’s polite to ask first.

She can’t quite take him all, but fuck if she isn’t determined to try. Balthus closes his eyes as his wrists twist in the ropes, and tries as best as he can not to move too much. No reason to make this more difficult. And it’s not like it doesn’t feel amazing, even if she can’t get the whole thing in.

“Hey, you bring that cute cunt up here and I’ll return the favor,” he says, when the urge to start thrusting into her hot mouth gets a little too much. “You suck me, I lick you, how’s that sound?”

“Physically impossible,” says Lysithea.

She slides off the bed and sheds both her underwear and her stockings, and then climbs back on top of him and settles on his chest. She’s wet, and that makes him feel like he really did just skin a wolf and make it into six or seven reasonably useful items by dinnertime. Or maybe that’s not the best comparison, but it feels pretty damn great to know she’s all hot and bothered playing with his balls and his cock.

She leans down and kisses him, almost sweet, then sits back up before he can really get into it and starts checking the ropes around his wrists.

“We good to go, there, Captain?” he asks, smiling a bit.

She huffs and nods, then leans down and kisses him again. “I -- feel better. If you want, I can take them off.”

He kisses her back, easy and open. “Nah, I don’t mind. It’s hot to be all tied up for you.”

“You’re a strange man,” Lysithea says. “I sometimes don’t understand anything you do or why you do it.”

“Yeah, well, I’m a great big enigma, it’s true.” He laughs at the look she gives him. “Seriously, let me make you feel good, c’mon.”

“I do feel good,” she says, serious as she always is. “And I really don’t think this is going to work.”

For half a second, he thinks he means the two of them. And it bothers him more than he should, because he likes her. She’s feisty, she takes no shit, and she could end him with a twitch of her little finger. He knows there’s more going on with her than she’s told him, but that’s fine. No time to get into secrets during war, when all you’re really thinking about is surviving.

Then he realizes she’s talking about sucking his cock while she’s sitting on his face. “Oh, well, just try it. I’m curious.”

Lysithea blinks her wide, bright violet eyes at him. “I don’t think anything scares you,” she says, softly.

Startled, he’s not sure what to say to that. Usually he’d joke about it, say, yeah, you’re right, and toss off some cocky smirk. But the way she’s looking at him, it feels wrong somehow. “Sure it does,” he says. “I ain’t any different than the rest of us, sweetheart. Don’t wanna die before I squeeze all the life I can out of whatever time I got, yeah?”

She goes still, and her eyes look faraway, distant. He thinks for a moment he’s said the wrong thing, but then she comes back to herself and nods. She leans in to kiss him again -- three in a row, that’s like a record, for her -- and says, against his mouth, “Don’t do stupid things in battle, anymore. Sometimes I’m too busy to make sure you don’t die.”

He smiles against her mouth. “Sure thing, little lady.”

She then raises up and frees his wrists from the ropes.

“I said I didn’t mind,” he says, as first one wrist, then other, slips free. “You must’ve figured out by now I’m into you taking whatever you want.”

“I have, you’re not exactly subtle.” She tosses ropes away. “And this is what I want. So. Problem?”

“I ain’t that dumb, no matter what you hear,” he says with a wink, and she flips herself around and settles back down on top of him. With his hands free, he can grab her hips and pull her up so he can get his mouth on her cunt.

She tastes good, slick and wet for him, and Balthus does love doing this. He still remembers the first time, how wet she’d been, how she’d seemed surprised by how good it felt. It’s hot as fuck, and he’s glad she let his wrists free so he can run his hands up and down her ass, her sides. She really is fucking gorgeous, and her cunt’s so sweet, and thinking about fucking her is making him push his hips up seeking friction.

“I cannot reach your cock,” says Lysithea, aggravated, like she’s failing a certification exam. “You’ll have to, to move me down but - not...yet. Ah.”

“Mmm.” Balthus moves his head back and forth, presses his face deeper into her slick wet folds, flicks his tongue against her clit. Her thighs shake on either side of his face. He moves her up just a bit and says, “I think you’re just not trying hard enough.”

“Ooh,” she mutters, and he laughs into her as she pummels the side of his thigh with her fist. “You’re too tall.”

It’s sort of adorable that she can’t reach his cock but keeps trying, stretching this way and that on top of him, and she’s so focused that he starts wondering if she’s even enjoying him eating her out anymore.

“You can use your hand,” he says, catching his breath, lifting her up again. “If you can reach.”

“If I can…!”

That gets him another smack, this time on his cock and Balthus moans and goes back to his task. She does try using her hand, and when he’s getting close he abruptly pushes her off his face and moves her down. “There, you take a turn for a bit.”

Since his hands are free, he can play with her pretty pussy while she sucks him, and talk to her about it, which he likes and from the sounds she’s making and how she’s grinding herself against his hand, she must like, too.

“That’s it, you suck me so good, mm, you should see my view, sweet thing.” He gives her a smack on the ass, just a little one, to see what she’ll do.

What she does is thwack him in the side with her heel, but that’s just funny, so he grins and goes back to rubbing his thumb against her cunt. “Want to feel you on my fingers, that okay?”

She pulls off his cock and says, “You’ve done it before, you only need to ask if it’s something new,” and then shoves his dick back in her mouth.

“Good to know,” he says, and carefully eases two fingers inside her while he keeps rubbing her clit. She’s so tight. “Goddess, girl, do you know how bad I want to fuck you?”

She pulls off him again, which is probably for the best -- Balthus is a gentleman, thank you, and he’s always gonna get her off first unless otherwise instructed -- and gasps out, “Do you think about it?”

Her asking him that is so hot, he almost comes. “Yeah,” he manages, while rubbing at her clit, starting to fuck her gently with two fingers. “I thought about it the other day. All on my lonesome --”

“You weren’t by the stables in the dark, were you?”

Balthus gives a husky laugh. “Nah, I got privacy for that sort of thing. But yeah, I took my time, too. Got some oil out and everything. Did it proper, figured you were worth more than a quick tug.”

“Thanks,” she says, dryly. “I think about it, too. But I went fast. I needed to sleep.”

“You’re such a fucking delight,” says Balthus, charmed. “You came thinking about taking my dick?”

“Mmmhmm,” she murmurs, around his cock.

“I thought about giving it to you. You might wanna stop there, pretty. I’m getting real close.” He is, too. The idea of her in this bed, hand between her legs, stroking herself, coming while thinking about him fucking her, is making him dizzy.

When she pulls off his cock to breathe, he hauls her up again and slams her back on his face. She’s quiet but she moves a lot, and he can hear her little gasps while she grinds herself against his mouth.

“I -- want you to, I -- ah, it -- Balthus,” she moans, and wriggles against his mouth. He tries to use his fingers and his tongue, which is difficult because of how much she’s moving around but he gets it eventually.

He loves feeling her come on his mouth; she goes all tense and bucks against him, makes these breathy little sounds that get him so hot he wants to flip them over and fuck her so he can hear them and see her face while she makes them.

And he also knows not to stop -- she likes having two in a row, and what kind of inconsiderate asshole would he be to deny her? He puts his hands on each cheek of her ass and spreads her open; rubbing her off with his tongue and making it as wet and messy and dirty as he can.

She bites him when she comes this time, it’s hot as fuck. He rubs her ass and wipes his mouth while she lays trembling on top of him, catching her breath.

“I’d fuck you now, if you wanted,” he says, stroking her sweat-damp skin. “But just so you know, I ain’t gonna last long enough to make it as good as it should be. You’re so hot, if it wasn’t for that cock ring we’d be finished and takin’ a nap by now.”

“I have too much to do for naps,” she mumbles into his side. This is a lie, she fell asleep the last time for at least thirty minutes and he didn’t say anything about that. “But you can -- we can. Finish.”

“Oh, can we? Says the girl who already came twice?”

“That’s why we can finish,” she informs him, and eventually moves off him to go back to her spot between his legs. “You’re so hard,” she says, and draws two fingers up his dick.

Balthus moans and bites his lip. “Sure am.”

She’s messy-haired and flushed, bright-eyed gaze flicking between his face and his cock; red and wet, lying hard and aching on his stomach. When she touches him, it’s his balls she plays with. “And you really can’t come this way?”

“I think in about two minutes, a stiff breeze could get me off,” he says, and chokes out a laugh when she leans in and blows on his cock. “Your blowjob technique needs some work, there, babe.”

The endearment doesn’t even make her scowl, she must be pretty relaxed after those orgasms. “I don’t think so. But, hmm.” She rolls his balls and tugs, smacking them around again.

“Lysithea,” he says, helplessly, to the ceiling. “You’re kinda killin’ me here.”

“Oh, Balthus. If I was killing you, you’d know it.” She leans in and presses a kiss to his stomach, so near his cock that his hips push up involuntarily. “Can I use my hand, again? I like watching you when you come. All of you.”

“Say you have amazing big balls, Balthus, and sure.”

“I’m not saying that.” She smacks his balls again. “Ever.”

“You do whatever you want, darlin’, just stop teasing me and let me come already.” Balthus is so on edge, and honestly, he wouldn’t have thought he could come with someone playing with his balls but she’s a quick learner and she keeps tugging them and yeah, apparently he can.

“Oh, all right.” She smiles at him, then, and it’s sweet and amused, the sort of smile you don’t see a lot after five years of battles and slogging through muddy fields, camping in the cold and killing people you used to hang out with at the dining hall.

She takes his cock in both her hands, kneeling between his spread legs, and works him with quick, fast strokes, twisting over the head, just like he showed her that first time. She says something,but his brain fuzzes out and the tension finally breaks, and he comes with a loud shout as his dick pulses in her clenched hands.

It’s an intense orgasm after all the teasing and edging, and he shakes his way through it without being quite able to stop making so much noise. He also makes a mess, but she doesn’t seem to mind because she doesn’t stop, just keeps stroking until he’s spent and gasping for breath.

He vaguely feels her slide the ring off his softening cock, and he twitches a little at the ticklish sensation while he waits for his heart to slow.

He blinks his eyes open. Lysithea pats him on the leg. “We’re going to have to change the sheets.”

“Nah.” He waves a hand. “Just sleep on top of me.”

“You’re messier than the sheets, though.”

“Oh.” He flops his hand down, rummaging on the floor for something to use to clean himself off. His fingers close over cloth and he pulls it up and uses whatever it is to wipe off his stomach, his thighs, and even a little on his chest. Damn. She really had gotten him worked up.

“That was your shirt,” she says. “And I don’t think you’ll be able to fit in anything of mine in the morning.”

He smiles without opening his eyes. “It’ll be dry by morning.”

“That’s. So gross,” she sighs. It doesn’t stop her from pushing his shirt to the floor and clambering on top of him, though. Her head tucks right under his chin. It’s cute. Lysithea, though she’d probably dark spikes him if he ever said a word to anybody about it, is secretly a cuddler.

“You don’t have to stay,” she says, defensively, as if he could move even if he wanted to after coming his brains out like that.

“I’m great where I am, thanks.” Balthus pats her on the back. “You good?”

“Mmm. Yes.” She stretches on top of him, head on his shoulder. “We don’t have to talk, do we?”

He cracks one eye open. “Isn’t that supposed to be my line?”

“Not to anyone who’s ever met you,” she says, but fondly, and that little smile is on her face again. “Go to sleep.” She raises one hand and waves it; there’s a cool rush of an unnatural wind that raises the hair on his chest and his arm, and the slight taste of ozone in the back of his mouth.

The candles flicker and go dark.

“Did you really have to do the hand waving thing to do that,” he asks.

“No, but sometimes you appreciate theatrics.” The last word stretches out into a sleepy yawn.

Her breathing is deep and even, and Balthus reaches out, carefully strokes his hand over her hair. “Lysithea,” he whispers. “Say balls. C’mon. Just once.”

She elbows him sharply in the sternum, and doesn’t.

In the morning, they’re eating breakfast before training -- Balthus in a new shirt he fetched from his room, because Lysithea insisted -- when Leonie marches up to them with a look on her face that makes Balthus wonder if he owes her money.

“You know something?” she says, pointing a finger at him. “I don’t really know you, I’m not sure I like you, and I’m only going to say this once. Lysithea is my friend.”

“Oh, no,” Lysithea whispers.

“You hurt her? I don’t care how big your balls are, Balthus. I’ll cut them off with a butter knife.”

“Leonie!” Lysithea hisses, her face the approximate color of the tomatoes she refuses to consider eating.

“You don’t like it, make sure you cast silence next time,” Leonie informs her. “My room is right next to yours!”

“I must have forgotten,” Lysithea mumbles. She puts her face in her hands. “I can’t believe she threatened to cut your balls off.”

Balthus throws his arms up in quiet victory, and steals the rest of her bacon.