Noi kicked her legs back and forth before crossing them beneath her on the counter. “C’monnn, it must be almost done by now.”
“You’re the one who said I had to beat the butter by hand.” Shin sighed and used his forearm to wipe some sweat from his brow. “This would have been faster with the stand mixer,” he grumbled.
“Ahh, you’re right, you’re right.” Noi tipped her head back with a small smile as she said, “I had my reasons, though.”
Shin gave Noi and her smug look an unamused glance. Noi just grinned more, taking in the scene she’d given herself as a gift: she and Shin were both in his kitchen, her partner cradling a large bowl of in-progress buttercream frosting in his arm. He worked diligently despite his complaining, sleeves rolled up to his elbows as he incorporated several cups of powdered sugar into the mix.
In the oven, Noi’s birthday cake had just started baking. It left her with plenty of time to appreciate her partner in the newer, romantic sense of the word. Noi’s expression softened as she thought of how she and Shin had more or less fumbled their way into a relationship a few months ago; this would be her first birthday spent with him as a significant other, and she thought it pretty clever of herself to request a gift involving just a touch of manual labor.
Noi’s gaze strayed from Shin’s arms mixing the buttercream to his unbuttoned collar. Before they’d gotten together, she’d idly noticed his more handsome features, but she had never lingered on those thoughts when there were enemies to fight or sparring practices to win. It took an impulsive kiss on her part to understand that maybe she’d admired him for more than just his physical strength, for a long time, without even realizing it.
Well, she understood it now. Noi felt a steady warmth in her face while she looked at Shin’s neck, the thick line of it leading down from his square jaw. A barely-there sheen of sweat made light reflect off his skin, and the subtle movements of the muscles there were even clearer. Then there was the way his shirt stretched across his broad chest with every deep breath...
Before long, Shin noticed Noi’s silence, and then her staring. The motion of his mixing slowed as his eyes widened. “You asked for this so you could… check me out,” he said, as if he didn’t completely believe it.
Noi tensed where she sat on the counter.
“W-well, I mean, the icing will taste better if it’s made by hand anyway,” she stalled. Then, a thought struck her: what did she have to be embarrassed about? They’d already had sex! “And, yeah,” Noi added frankly, “I wanted to check you out. You’re damn handsome, you know.”
It was that line that made Shin’s face go entirely red. Apparently Shin had been aware of his feelings for a long time but pushed them down for one reason or another; acknowledging them more openly still caused him some trouble.
He schooled his expression back into something controlled quickly, though, and Noi congratulated him in her head. She appreciated it when he faced his nerves for her sake.
In fact, Shin seemed determined to push himself out of his comfort zone this time. A few strides brought him into Noi’s personal space, shirt brushing her legs where she was perched. He said, “The icing is done. Do you want to taste it?”
Noi watched him with raised eyebrows as he dipped a finger into the buttercream, and then held it up near her face.
“Ah, really?” she said, perking up. “Don’t mind if I do!”
With that, she took hold of Shin’s wrist and closed her lips around the offered digit. The buttercream melted like silk across her tongue, cool and sweet at one moment, and then warmed by the lightest hint of salt the next. Could that have been from the sweat on his skin? Delicious, Noi thought with a moan.
Noi savored the taste with her eyes closed for a long second. When she opened them, she saw Shin blushing even redder than before. Noi considered how that must have looked to him, feeling a slight stirring in her own body as she did: herself, curled forward above him, face loose with bliss. She’d dressed up for the family birthday dinner earlier, but now that it was just her and Shin, Noi had simply thrown on an old pajama shirt. Draped over her, the wide neckline hung nearly off her shoulder, and the cool air made her shiver.
Curiosity mixed with something else made Noi sweep her tongue deliberately around the pad of Shin’s finger in her mouth.
Shin exhaled heavily at the smooth, wet feeling, but he didn’t move away. Their eyes remained locked as Noi opened her lips and took Shin in a knuckle deeper. Their heartbeats both picked up. Noi pulled off slowly, carefully, letting out a small breath as Shin’s hand finally left her.
After a pause, Noi quietly asked, “Okay?” Are you okay? Was that okay?
Shin appeared stunned. In a heartbeat, though, he was nodding up at her. Noi felt a thrill when she realized she recognized the budding spark in his eyes: it was small, but hinted at the frenzied fire he had during a really, really good fight.
“Come down?” Shin said hoarsely. One hand tangled carefully in her shirt. “I want—”
“Yeah—” Noi answered, hand slipping on the counter as she tried to maneuver down. “Yeah, me too—”
There was a clatter as Shin carelessly flung the bowl of frosting where she had been. Noi couldn’t care less if it spilled all over the counter, because Shin’s hands were on her, fingers twisting into fabric with relief. Noi buried one hand in Shin’s hair, the other at his back. They kissed deeply, sinking into the feeling of the embrace over one long inhale.
“Noi,” Shin whispered, before coming in for another kiss. One of his hands dragged up her back hard, and Noi shivered at the exquisite pressure.
Just standing there and leaning into each other, their entwined bodies swayed back and forth a bit before losing balance and stumbling a few steps. Noi ended up pressed against the counter; Shin was slotted between her legs, stretching with his neck craned so his mouth could move unrelentingly on hers.
Noi felt pleasure and happiness bubbling in her. As Shin bit her lip with calculated, intoxicating restraint, she gave out a breathy laugh.
Shin’s gaze cleared slightly. He glanced at her questioningly, lips leaving her a moment, though his hands stayed fisted where they were.
“Ah, it’s just,” Noi chuckled helplessly, “this is my kind of birthday present!”
There was quiet as Shin took in her words. Then, his face twitched between a smile and a sigh. Finally he snickered right into her shoulder.
“The cake’s going to burn at this rate,” he said with warm resignation.
“We can worry about that later,” Noi replied easily. When he leveled her with an unimpressed look, she threw her hands up. “Fine!”
She took a moment to mash the controls of the oven near her, turning it off. Then, her fingers tickled against Shin’s skin as she started working on unbuttoning his shirt. At Shin’s surprised twitch, Noi let out a small laugh. “Look, I know what I really want tonight.”
Desire and amusement swirled in Shin’s eyes. “Hedonist,” he quipped.
“Oh, like you have any room to talk,” Noi said, still smiling.
She picked their kiss back up, but before long Shin was mouthing over her jaw, and then hotly against her neck. His hand inched the hem of her shirt gradually up one thigh, until he could rest his palm solidly on her hip. The searing, wet drag of his lips and tongue on her drove Noi to distraction; eventually, she grew too impatient to mess with any more buttons, and her hand yanked down until the rest simply flew off.
“H-hey!” Shin yelped, mouth making a wet sound as it separated from Noi’s skin.
“I’ll get you another,” Noi gasped. She pushed the fabric away from his broad shoulders while sinking to her knees, dragging Shin down with her. “But don’t stop,” she said, pressing her body back into his.
Shin finally hummed in agreement, tucking his mouth back in against her neck. Noi’s next breath was almost a wheeze when Shin’s hands slid down to her ass and gripped with gusto.
“Ah, ah,” Noi panted in pleasure. She was starting to feel feverish; being the center of Shin’s focus was always addicting like this. For his part, Shin seemed greedily consumed by the sensation of Noi’s silky hair on his cheek, her breast pressing up at his chin, and the steamy flush now gathering all around her collar bones because of his mouth.
Noi’s fingers dragged hungrily over Shin’s back, around his shoulders, and skitteringly, excitedly down his abs. Antsy, she worked Shin’s pants open and let one hand slide firmly to cup his cock through his boxers.
Shin paused for a moment. Then, he blew out a shaky breath and canted his hips forward. Noi took the cue to fondle him earnestly, a part of her growing excited at the weight of him. There was something enticing about the thought of this thickness in her hands, of how all of Shin was solid and wide enough to challenge her, to ground her, to hold her down and—
A particularly contented squeeze of Shin’s hands coupled with a languid press of lips on her throat made heat flash through Noi. She needed her shirt off now.
“Shin,” she gasped, leaning away and feeling cool air pour shockingly between them. Her smile was rueful as she panted, “I just wanna—my shirt—”
Shin blinked out of his daze while Noi tugged her shirt overhead, finally down to just her underwear. She looked at him with a flushed, eager grin, ready to go back to where they were.
Shin, unfortunately, was a bit stunned. Noi fought the urge to fidget even as she grinned; she could see and feel Shin’s eyes taking her in. His gaze wandered from the cascade of her hair to her blushing neck, down to her heaving chest and breasts, and then briefly to the creamy skin stretched taut over her strong stomach and thighs. So far, Shin had never been affected by Noi’s sexier outfits, but her body on its own always made him react.
“You still there, Senpai?” Noi took his hands and pulled, wanting to lie down. Her back met the tiled floor with a shiver. Clasping her arms around her middle to fight the chill, she writhed impatiently and joked, “C’mon, you’re killin’ me.”
Shin tore his eyes away from how the movement emphasized Noi’s generous cleavage, and blankly said, “Impossible. You can’t be killed.”
Noi, with all her healing magic thrumming inside her, sputtered out a laugh.
Shin grinned in response, and lowly added, “You took advantage of watching me for half an hour earlier. I should get a turn to look.”
Noi’s heart skipped a beat. She watched happily as Shin resettled his knees a bit, the thick linen of his slacks rasping under her thighs. She particularly watched his bunching abs when he at last bent forward to cage her with his arms. Sue her if she licked her lips.
He gave her flushed, full body one more sweep with his eyes, before closing the distance for a kiss. Sighs filled the air when their bare skin met.
They settled into a steady rhythm, kissing languidly while their hands explored each other. Noi could’ve spent the year until her next birthday just like that, kissing Shin, hands rubbing up and down his shifting back muscles, rocking her hips up into his rolling thrusts. Things only got better when Shin’s fingers pressed up her ribcage, and he palmed her breast in one big, warm hand.
He must have known how much she loved his hands. “Rougher,” she panted out as a request.
Shin hummed and obliged; his calloused fingers dug into the softness of her flesh like he was getting high from the feeling. When the pad of his thumb dragged hard over her nipple, Noi squeezed her thighs so tight she worried Shin’s pelvis might crack.
Noi really had no idea how long they spent like that. Eventually, Shin’s hands wandered downwards. It was when he came to her thighs, clutching them like he was trying to leave impressions of his fingers in her flesh permanently, that Noi suddenly registered the wanton noises she’d been making.
Shit. Noi’s mind was hazy, but she could feel how wet she’d gotten, her throat almost hoarse from moaning. I want him so bad.
Shin noticed too—so damn perceptive, Noi thought. His breath stuttered over her lips, before his hand left her thigh for the waistband of her underwear. Bracing himself on his other arm, Shin sat up slightly to check in on Noi. His mouth parted as he regarded her. In the few times they’d slept together so far, he’d never seen her this undone, disheveled and sticky with sweat.
Noi’s rosy thighs twitched. “Senpai,” she prodded, biting her swollen lip.
With a nod, Shin returned to her, rubbing his fingers over her wet heat. It wasn’t long until two thick digits entered Noi; her breath stuck in her chest at the satisfaction of it.
Shin worked his other arm beneath Noi’s waist, lifting her slightly from the floor. The hold gave him great leverage as he pulled his fingers in and out of her slickly. He didn’t realize, though, the way it would make her back arch more sharply beneath him. Shin’s throat went dry looking at the defined muscles of Noi’s stomach trembling with the movements of his hand, or Noi’s breasts hanging toward her chin as her shoulders just barely rested on the floor.
The way his heart was roaring in his ears, Shin actually felt close to losing himself the way he did with a hammer. Noi’s blown pupils met his; he wanted to reach that place together with her.
When Shin switched to three fingers, piling up the feeling of hot, sweet pressure in Noi’s hips, Noi’s strong arm suddenly shot down to grip his wrist.
“W-wait,” her voice was ragged. After a few deep breaths, she said, “I was gonna—I want you to fuck me.” Her eyes drifted to the clear outline of his cock, and stayed there. “Yeah.”
“Oh.” Shin’s brain raced to take in her words; he’d been so caught up in the moment.
Even after seeing Noi ruined like this, and after more than a decade of hearing her spew all kinds of vulgarities during fights, there was something about words like that echoing in her deep, rich voice that made him feel dizzy.
“Sounds good to me,” he said: an understatement.
Noi smiled brightly, a face that was jarringly sweet considering their current position; but maybe it wasn’t such a surprise, knowing her.
“Do you want it like this, or…?” Shin tried to nod vaguely at the idea of repositioning.
Noi was quiet other than the sound of her huffed breaths as she thought. Almost absently, one of her palms slid to her belly, and she murmured, “I want to feel you deep inside.” Then, expression perking with an idea, she looked to the counter.
Shakily, Noi disentangled herself from Shin. Her underwear was already most of the way off, but she haphazardly shoved and kicked it away, before facing the counter and bracing her arms on its surface.
Turning her face to Shin, she ventured, “Maybe something like this?” She figured the offer was clear enough, muscular back bent over with her round ass on full display.
His belt clinked as he got up, approaching Noi from behind. One of his hands pushed all the cloth around his hips low on his thighs. The other lightly rested on Noi’s back.
“Sure about this?” he asked. His thumb rubbed a careful circle where it rested between her spine and her hip.
Noi let out a long exhale, relaxing herself against the counter. “Yeah.” And then, because she couldn’t resist, she swayed her hips with a devilish smirk and said, “Hurry up, old-timer.”
Shin snorted hard. “You’re the one who turned older today,” he said. At the same time, he took his cock in his hand and started pushing in.
Sensation fell away from Noi like a dial being turned. All except for fullness.
Shin pushed on, hips straining not to rush, until at last he bottomed out. Noi swore she could feel every vein in his body buzzing with heat.
He laid his chest against Noi’s back gingerly, hands sliding up her tensed forearms to intertwine their fingers; and suddenly it felt right to be so close, fitting together after an eternity like two very heavy, patient puzzle pieces.
“Mm,” Shin hummed. Where his mouth rested, close to the nape of her neck, his low voice fanned out like warm oil on her skin: “Happy birthday, Noi.”
Noi gasped wetly.
Bringing a hand back to her hips and snapping his forward, Shin rolled in and out of Noi steadily at first. Each time her chest twitched and gasped beneath him, though, Noi could feel his pace slip and get a touch faster. She knew how he was when it came to adrenaline; how he hungered with his whole body, and right now he was fixated on her.
Every deep, powerful thrust dragged out of her with more heat. When he pumped back in harder, she got louder, squeezed tighter; his heart rate picked up. The next snap made their skin clap together, a sound so dirty it rattled in both their chests. Shin immediately made it happen again and again, both hands tightening their grips where they held her down.
“Noi,” he moaned into her neck.
Noi hung her head between tense shoulders. It was taking everything she had to remember where she was and not collapse; she didn’t want to have to make Shin keep her upright. But she was turning into hot, boiling liquid because of his precise thrusts—God, he was fucking into her like a machine now. Pretty soon that pleasure was going to overflow, right out of her mouth.
A part of her had thought, at the start of the night, how she wanted Shin to split her apart. He was doing it.
“Noi,” Shin wheezed again. One of his hands, jerkingly, pushed on the small of her back. It made her arch, and changed the angle of his thrusts inside. Her chest was pressed fully against the counter. It was almost brutal, but he knew—they both knew—she could take it.
“Fuck,” she breathed. “Hah, Shin—”
She was close close close, she just needed something else, just a little more.
Then she felt it: Shin’s other hand by her jaw, two fingers loosely brushing against her lips. Of course he knew what she wanted. Noi’s eyes might’ve rolled back in her head as she let her tongue flick against those fingers, and tasted a ghost of the buttercream from before. Now, though, the flavor was nearly overcome by Shin’s sweat and herself, salty, lingering on his skin.
Shin’s body responded automatically; the digits flexed in, weighing on her tongue and dragging out her lip.
“Nn.” With a clench, Noi fell apart in Shin’s arms.
The noise Shin let out wasn’t magic user or human. He pounded out a few more thrusts, fumbling open-mouthed kisses against Noi’s back; and then he snapped close one last time, spilling out hot inside Noi.
Over the span of a few breaths, Noi gradually became aware of things other than her beating heart again. Shin stirred too, cool air prickling against his skin.
Both of them shivered when, haltingly, Shin pulled out of Noi’s body. Aftershocks of pleasure wracked Noi as she felt come drip down her leg.
Shin tried to stretch, but eventually, he just slumped to lean his head close to Noi’s. Cheek pressed to the counter, she opened her eyes and studied him before her. Abruptly, she nosed forward to lay a deep, slow kiss on his lips.
“Mm,” Shin grinned when she was done. “So?” he murmured. Trembling fingers brushed back loose strands of Noi’s hair. “Good birthday present?”
Her voice a sleepy whisper, she said, “It was a good start.”
Eventually, leaning over the counter got old. They slid to the floor together and sat entangled, murmuring quietly about how pleasantly sore they felt. It was while Noi was rumbling warmly in Shin’s ear about how good she ached inside and she couldn’t wait to go again, that something wet landed on her shoulder.
“What the…” Glancing up, she and Shin realized at the same time what had happened: the bowl of frosting from before had wound up tipped over, and the thick buttercream was just now starting to ooze from the counter onto the floor.
“Ah, what a waste,” Noi sighed.
Shin looked from the counter to Noi thoughtfully. In a casual movement, he scooped a bit of the cream from her shoulder into his mouth, and closed his eyes at the flavor.
“That really did turn out nice,” he said, faintly surprised. Gaze meeting Noi’s again, he added, “Maybe it doesn’t all have to go to waste, if we’re… creative.”
Noi felt a smile spread across her cheeks as she dipped forward for another pleased kiss. This might have been her favorite sampling of the frosting yet: on Shin’s lips, it was sweet with the taste of promise.