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The nighttime air carries a hint of bitter chill as Hilda and Marianne head to the Garreg Mach dormitory after an evening war council meeting, and Marianne’s mood is somber. In just a few days they will likely be facing some of their friends and former classmates in battle, and they all know that they’ll have to make some hard choices. 

Marianne feels herself relax as she steps into Hilda’s room and lets its warm, familiar, softly-scented air wash over her. In the few months since they returned to the monastery after their five-year absence, it has become the one place she feels truly safe and able to let go of her worries for a short while. She realizes as she slips out of her warm woolen cloak that it feels like coming home. It’s a comfort that she really needs right now.

She looks over at Hilda, whose cheerful, steadying presence in her life has come to mean so much. Uncharacteristically, Hilda also looks somber, and Marianne moves to help her with her cloak as Hilda pulls the door closed behind them.

“That was a hard meeting,” she says quietly, for once breaking the silence before Hilda does. She hangs their cloaks on pegs near the door. 

They have spent nearly every night together in the weeks since Hilda first asked Marianne to kneel for her. At this point it has become almost routine for Marianne to undress and kneel happily at Hilda’s feet upon arriving in her room for the evening. Yet tonight it doesn’t feel quite right to simply slip into their roles as dominant and submissive, with the weight of the upcoming battle hanging over them.  

“You’re right Mari, it was a hard meeting. I hope all of this fighting is worth it in the end.” Hilda slides her arms around Marianne’s waist and pulls her close. Marianne leans her head against Hilda’s, grateful for her comforting presence and wanting to offer comfort in return. Hilda has given her so much. 

Hilda sighs, and Marianne places a gentle hand on her cheek. “Shall I make us some tea to try and take our minds off of it?”

Hilda smiles at her. “That’s my girl, always happy to serve, hmm? Tea sounds amazing. I hope you’ll make some for yourself too.”

Marianne hums her agreement, glad that she was able to put a smile on Hilda’s face. She puts water on to boil and helps Hilda change into loose, comfortable night clothes, then slips into a light robe and finishes with the tea preparations.

It’s a relief when she’s able to set the warm teapot on the table and pour a steaming cup of rose-scented tea for Hilda. There are few things she finds more soothing than these simple acts of service, especially when she’s performing them for Hilda, who she has come to think of as her dominant even though she isn’t wearing her collar. She sinks to her knees on the cushion next to Hilda’s chair and lets out a breath she hadn’t known she was holding. Hilda strokes her hair appreciatively and breaks off little pieces of tea cake to feed Marianne in between sips of tea. A soft ache kindles in Marianne’s chest.

She puts a gentle hand on Hilda’s thigh and looks up at her. “Hilda, I’m so grateful for this time we spend together. You take such good care of me. If something happens to one of us in the war, I-I just want you to know how much you mean to me.”

Hilda sets down her tea and turns to look at Marianne. “Oh my sweet, amazing girl. You know you mean the world to me too, right? Sometimes the thought of getting to come home and be with you is the only thing that gets me through these really hard days.” 

She hesitates for a moment, tracing her fingers down Marianne’s cheek. “I love you, you know. I have for a long time. I should have said it sooner.”

The ache in Marianne’s chest pushes its way up her throat, making it hard to speak. She takes a small, astonished breath and blinks back tears. “I love you too, Hilda. So much.”

“Oh, Mari.” Hilda bends down and kisses her. It’s a slow, tender kiss that tastes like the rose tea and has just a hint of dominance in it. Marianne melts into the kiss, happy to surrender and let Hilda take control. She always knows exactly what Marianne needs.

As they pull apart, Hilda looks thoughtful. “Screw it. I was planning to wait until a better time to do this, but you’re right, something might happen to one of us in the war. There may never be a better time.”

She settles back into her chair and puts a hand under Marianne’s chin, tilting her head up to face her from where she still kneels on the floor. It’s one of Hilda’s favorite ways to assert her dominance, and even after so much time together it still sends a thrill down Marianne’s spine. She looks up at Hilda expectantly.

“Marianne, I know I’ve said that you’re mine many times during these nights we’ve spent together, and I want to make that real. I want you to belong to me, not just when we’re here in this room, but always. Will you wear my collar?”

Of all the emotions Marianne expected she might feel if this moment ever came, the immediate sense of calm that washes over her isn’t one of them. The voices she so often hears in her head, the ones that tell her she’s a burden, that she’s not worthy, that she doesn’t deserve anything good, they’re all smothered into silence by the immense warmth that fills her chest and radiates throughout her body. This must be what it feels like, she thinks, to be blessed by the Goddess. 

“Hilda,” she says, hearing her own voice as though from a great distance. “Yes, of course. There’s nothing I’ve ever wanted more.”

Hilda kisses her again, and this time it’s the passionate, urgent kiss of a dominant who is claiming what is hers. Marianne submits to it gladly, melting into Hilda’s embrace as she pulls her closer. When they finish, Hilda’s eyes are shining. 

“Mari, you’ve made me the happiest girl in all of Fodlan tonight. I know there are normally rules about how these things should go, but given the circumstances I think we should do the ceremony right now. Is that okay with you?”

Marianne nods, feeling dizzy from the kiss and the happy suddenness of it all. “Yes, that sounds perfect. I don’t care about proper ceremonies or big parties or anything like that. I just want to be yours.” She smiles, feeling suddenly shy and overwhelmed and hardly able to believe this is really happening.

Hilda kisses her on the nose. “And I want you to be mine too! But I think just a little bit of ceremony is in order. I have just the perfect things.” 

She starts to open cabinets and drawers, pulling out dozens of candles in more scents and colors than Marianne knew existed. Leave it to Hilda, she thinks, to have more candles in her tiny room than one person could possibly use in an entire year. Still, as their glow fills the room with a warm, sparkling light, Marianne has to admit that the effect is just as beautiful and perfect as Hilda is.

Hilda rummages in the back of her closet and produces a simple yet elegant silk dress in blue with gold-colored accents. She slips it on, appraises herself in the mirror, and nods. “I’ve been saving this for a special occasion, and you can’t get much more special than this. The colors go well with your eyes.”

She looks over at Marianne, still kneeling on her cushion. “Is there something special you want to wear for the ceremony, sweetie? I know this isn’t traditional for a collaring ceremony between two great noble houses, but I want to make sure it’s special for you.”

Marianne has known her answer since the first day she knelt at Hilda’s feet. “I’d like to be naked when I accept your collar, if that’s okay. That way your collar will be the only thing I’m wearing when the ceremony is over.”

The look of adoration that Hilda gives her is almost too much, and she looks away, blushing. She can’t quite bring herself to say it, but she knows Hilda will understand - nothing she could wear could possibly mean as much as having Hilda’s collar around her neck. 

Hilda takes a small box down from the very top shelf of the closet and walks over to her. “My sweet, perfect girl, of course that’s okay. I think this collar will look absolutely stunning on you.”

She holds out a long, ivory box, inlaid with gold filigree and decorated with tiny blue birds. As she lifts the lid, Marianne’s breath catches in her throat. Resting on a pale blue velvet backdrop is an exquisitely crafted collar of soft pink leather, with a buckle and loop made out of rose gold. It sparkles faintly in the candlelight. Marianne strokes the collar gently and touches her neck, imagining how it will feel there. 

“I started making this shortly after our first time together,” Hilda says, proud and a little bashful. “I knew right away that I wanted this. I’m so glad you want it too.”

“It’s so beautiful, Hilda. I’ll be so happy and proud to wear it. I-I just hope I’m worthy of everything that it means.” Marianne’s lip trembles as she thinks about Hilda making something so exquisite, just for her.

“You’ve always been worthy of it, Marianne. And I’ll never stop reminding you of that. Now let’s get this ceremony started, hmm?”

Hilda arranges a circle of candles and gestures for Marianne to stand. Slowly, reverently, she removes Marianne’s robe and lays it to the side. Her eyes linger on Marianne’s body, lit by soft candlelight, and Marianne sees something like awe in her expression.

“Goddess, you’re so beautiful. And you’ll look even more beautiful wearing my collar.” Marianne smiles and blushes at Hilda’s praise. Hilda holds out her hand, and Marianne takes it and lets Hilda lead her into the circle of light.

“Marianne. Kneel for me.” Hilda puts just a touch of gentle, loving dominance in her voice.

Marianne obeys, sinking to her knees in front of Hilda. Hilda opens the box and removes the collar, holding it out in front of her.

“With this collar, you belong to me. I promise to always take care of you and give you what you need. I love you and there’s nothing I won’t do for you, my perfect, beautiful girl.” 

She buckles the collar around Marianne’s neck. It fits perfectly, and feels both new and somehow familiar, like something she was always meant to wear. Just like Hilda’s room, it feels like home .  

Marianne blinks back tears and looks up at Hilda. “Hilda, I accept your collar, and promise to obey and cherish you as your submissive. I love you so much, and nothing means more to me than belonging to you.”

She realizes that tears of happiness are sliding down her cheeks as she gazes at Hilda, who is now hers. Her dominant. 

Hilda is crying too. “I was right. You look so gorgeous. Seeing you wear my collar is making me feel so many things.” 

She kneels and pulls Marianne into a kiss, fierce and possessive and tender all at once.  Marianne’s senses are flooded with Hilda, how she smells and tastes and feels as she cups Marianne’s face with her hands and claims her with insistent lips. 

They have kissed many times before, but this kiss feels different. She’s always felt a special thrill when she kisses Hilda, who she has admired and, if she’s honest with herself, wanted for so long. But never has she felt such an intense sense of belonging as she does right now, submitting for the first time to a dominant whose collar she wears and who she loves so very, very much.

Hilda hooks a finger into the ring set in Marianne’s collar and gives a small tug. Marianne gasps at her body’s immediate, overwhelming reaction as her dominant asserts ownership for the first time. She takes a shuddering breath.

Hilda, attuned to her as ever, does not miss this. “You liked that, didn’t you, pretty girl? Doesn’t it feel different, now that you’re mine? It definitely does for me.” The possessive, hungry look in her eyes would have instantly brought Marianne to her knees were she not already kneeling.

Instead, Marianne crosses her arms behind her back and schools herself into a traditional submissive’s pose. “Yes, it feels like I was meant for this, with you. I’m so happy to have your collar, Hilda. How would you like me to serve you, now that I’m yours?”

“My Marianne,” Hilda murmurs, pulling on the ring to draw her closer. “I love you so much, and I love that you belong to me now. Here’s what I want you to do, my gorgeous, amazing girl.” 

Her voice thrums with barely restrained dominance. “I want you to help me out of this dress, and then I want you underneath me on our bed while I take you, surrounded by candles. I can tell how much you need it. And after that you’re going to serve me on your knees with that sweet mouth of yours, just like I know you like it.”

She grabs the back of Marianne’s collar and pulls her toward the bed. Marianne, already halfway under just from Hilda’s voice and hand on her collar, slips further under still as she crawls along beside Hilda, led by her new collar for the first time.

Hilda pauses next to the bed for Marianne to help her undress. Despite being under, Marianne is giddy with anticipation. She slides the silk dress over Hilda’s head and marvels at how easy and right it feels to serve her dominant. Hilda catches her eye and smiles, and she knows that the feeling is mutual.

She hangs the dress carefully in the closet, and turns to face Hilda. For a moment she forgets to breathe as she sees her dominant standing naked by the bed, her lithe, muscled body gleaming in the candlelight. A thought enters her head, wicked and unbidden and perfect. She gives Hilda what she hopes is a mischievous smile and drops to her knees. Ever so slowly, she crawls back to Hilda and assumes a traditional submissive posture once more, kneeling with her arms behind her back.

She looks up at Hilda, brimming with want. “I’m yours,” she says. Two little words that mean so much now.

Hilda runs one finger along her collar and grins. “Pretty girl. Let me show you what it means to be mine.”

She lifts Marianne up onto the bed, effortlessly. Her hands trace down Marianne’s waist and hips as she presses her into the cool sheets. Her kisses sear Marianne’s lips, and jaw and neck. Marianne arches into Hilda as she tugs at Marianne’s collar with her teeth. She suckles and nibbles at the base of her throat, hard enough that Marianne knows it will leave a mark. Marianne feels a surge of joy at the thought.

A tiny noise escapes Marianne’s throat as Hilda’s hands slide up to cup her breasts. Hilda grins wickedly at her, rolling her sensitive nipples between thumb and forefinger and murmuring into her ear. “You know the rules, pretty girl. No holding back those gorgeous noises you make. They belong to me as much as you do now, and I want to hear them every time I earn them.”

She bends down to suckle at Marianne’s breast, and Marianne tilts her head back and moans. Her head swims. Her body has always been responsive to Hilda’s touch, but it has never been this intense. Perhaps it’s because she wears Hilda’s collar now, and some part of her submissive subconscious knows that this dominant has claimed her. Or maybe it’s just that Hilda seems determined to make her come utterly apart, asserting her claim one shaking, shuddering orgasm after another.

As though Hilda is reading her thoughts, she slides one hand down between Marianne’s legs. “Good girl, you’re so wet and ready for me already. It’s like your body already knows you’re mine. And I’m going to take you now to make sure it remembers.”

She presses two fingers inside Marianne, and Marianne cannot keep herself from crying out. Hilda’s fingers soothe the aching need that has been building inside her, a need not just to be fucked but to submit to her dominant and feel herself be taken. She arches into Hilda’s touch and barely keeps herself from coming the moment Hilda presses her palm against her clit.

“Hilda, please can I come,” she manages to gasp out. Her whole body feels like it’s on fire, with the center of the conflagration pulsing hot between her legs.

“Of course, pretty girl. I knew the first one would be quick. Come for me, and let me hear how much you like it now that you belong to me.”

Marianne obeys, crying out and moaning Hilda’s name as her orgasm hits her in a series of crashing waves. She lets herself sink fully under and surrenders her body to Hilda, letting her dominant draw out more moans and cries and gasps.

Hilda fucks her through the first orgasm and shows no sign of stopping, reaching up to pull hard on her collar as her fingers continue their insistent pace inside Marianne. Marianne shudders and finds herself on the brink of coming again at this reminder that she is Hilda’s now.

“Oh my beautiful girl, you look so gorgeous coming apart underneath me with my collar around your neck. It feels so good to take you and know that you’re mine. Will you come for me again?”

She bites hard at the base of Marianne’s neck and Marianne comes undone, hips bucking and body writhing against Hilda’s as she comes once more with loud, wordless moans.

Marianne claws her hands down Hilda’s back as her body is flooded with the sensation of her dominant claiming her in the most intimate way possible. It has never been this intense before, but she wasn’t yet Hilda’s collared submissive during any of the other times they had done this. She hadn’t known it would make such a difference, but now she understands.

She looks up into Hilda’s eyes as her body shudders and sees the same intensity reflected there. Hilda feels it too, she realizes, this overwhelming sense of belonging together, of sating the aching need they feel as dominant and submissive in a way that no one else can.

Her body relaxes as the orgasms finally subside, and her head floats in a sea of warm, calm peacefulness that she only finds when she is well and truly under. She smiles up at Hilda, who gently withdraws her fingers and leans down to give her a soft, tender kiss.

“My amazing Marianne. I feel like I was made to touch you and make you feel good just like that. And from the way you responded, I’m pretty sure you feel the same way.”

“Mmm, yes Hilda.” Marianne basks in Hilda’s praise and loving caresses. “No one has ever made me feel the way you do when you touch me. And I feel it even more now that I have your collar.” 

She touches the collar around her neck again and knows she will never stop feeling the thrill and wonder of having it there. Hilda smiles down at her and gently slides her fingers into Marianne’s mouth so she can lick them clean. Even as far under as she is, Marianne feels a soft spike of desire as she tastes herself on Hilda’s fingers, and it intensifies when Hilda tells her “good girl” and strokes her hair with her free hand. 

She suddenly yearns to get on her knees and show Hilda just how good she can be. As Hilda withdraws her fingers, she murmurs “I feel like I was made for this too, to serve you and make you feel good. I haven’t forgotten that you asked for my mouth. Let me show you how happy I am to be yours.”

With one last, parting kiss, she slides off of the bed and onto her knees on the floor. Hilda rolls onto her side and smiles at her.

“Ooh my sweet girl, I would love that so much. But first why don’t you go get your cushion? I might keep you down there on your knees for a while.” Her smile becomes an impish grin.

The ache returns to Marianne’s chest at just how much Hilda cares for her and her comfort. She starts to stand, then looks up at Hilda and thinks better of it. With a tiny smile, she adjusts her collar and crawls over to get the cushion.

Hilda sits up as she watches Marianne crawl back, and spreads her legs at the edge of the bed. Marianne settles herself happily between Hilda’s thighs, kneeling on her cushion in the traditional submissive pose. She allows herself a moment to really look at Hilda, taking in her beautiful face, her gorgeous, full breasts with their rosy nipples, the well-muscled outline of her arms and shoulders, and the seductive curves of her waist and hips. She wants to run her hands and mouth over all of Hilda, and show her just how much she loves her. 

She looks lower, at Hilda’s strong thighs and the dark pink folds between her legs, glistening with wetness. Hilda is her dominant and she is wet for her, and the thought fills Marianne with an aching need to please her and make her feel good as many times as she wants.

Once again it’s like Hilda can hear her thoughts, because she gently hooks a finger through the loop in Marianne’s collar again and pulls her gently towards her. 

“My gorgeous, perfect girl, you look so amazing kneeling there, ready to serve me. You want it so much, don’t you? Don’t worry, I want it too. You can enjoy me as much as you want afterwards, but right now I want you to use your mouth to make me come, okay sweet girl?”

She puts her hand on the back of Marianne’s head and guides her down between her legs. Marianne places a hand on each of Hilda’s thighs and blissfully surrenders to her dominant’s will. The way Hilda tastes and sounds as she goes to work with her mouth and lips and tongue is nothing short of a revelation. 

“Oh my sweet girl, that’s so good. Keep your tongue right there and suck a little harder. Oh goddess, yes…”

Hilda’s hand drifts down her head and comes to rest at the back of her neck, gripping her collar. She pulls on it as her hips buck into Mariane’s mouth, and Marianne is overwhelmed at how right it feels to be on her knees serving Hilda while wearing her collar. She knows with certainty that this is where she belongs, and the sense of rightness only increases as Hilda cries out her name and coats her face with a fresh surge of wetness.

By now she also knows that Hilda rarely stops after coming just once, so she gently keeps going as Hilda’s first contractions subside, slipping two fingers inside to curl against the familiar places she knows will make Hilda arch and moan.

She was made for this, she has no doubt, and the fact that Hilda loves her and has collared her is nothing short of a miracle from the Goddess. She still isn’t quite sure what she could possibly have done to deserve someone as wonderful as Hilda, but she will never stop showing Hilda how grateful she is to be wearing her collar.

After her fourth orgasm, Hilda collapses back on the bed and coos for Marianne to join her. They curl together blissfully, all smiles and tender caresses and softly murmured words of love and devotion. Marianne does not recall having ever been so happy, knowing that she gets to have this forever now.

“I’ll have to write to Holst and let him know I finally did it. I’ve been telling him how much I wanted to give you my collar since pretty much the first time I had you on your knees.” 

Marianne smiles, knowing how impatient Hilda can be. “In some ways I still can’t believe it happened, but in other ways I’m surprised you held out this long.” She kisses Hilda on the cheek and snuggles closer.

Hilda grins. “You know me too well. I’m so glad you said yes. I thought you would, but I know it’s complicated for you, for a lot of reasons.”

“Yes, you know me well, too.” Marianne makes an effort not to avoid eye contact. “You keep encouraging me to believe that I deserve you and all the amazing things you do for me, and I really am trying to do that. It’s still hard after so many years of thinking I was cursed, but thanks to you it’s getting easier. I appreciate you so much for that.”

It’s more words than she usually ever says at once, but if anyone is worth the effort, Hilda is. And she can tell that Hilda appreciates that effort from the adoring look on her face and the way she squeezes her tightly.

“Oh Mari, I can see how hard you’re trying, and I’m so proud of you. You deserve only the best things, and I’m going to make sure you have them. Anyone who tries to stand in the way of that will have to answer to me as your dominant. Including you, pretty girl.” She gives Marianne’s collar another tug for emphasis.

Marianne laughs. “I have no doubt about that. Though the first person who may try to stand in your way is my father. I’ve hinted about our relationship in my letters to him, but I think he’ll be surprised to hear that I took your collar.”

Hilda looks thoughtful. “Do you think he’ll be upset? It’s unusual but not not unheard of for a collared submissive to be the head of a major House. And he has to admit that as the only daughter of House Goneril, I’m quite a catch.” She winks, of course, because she’s Hilda.

“I’m honestly not sure. I know he expects me to make a good match, and he likely expected I would consult with him before agreeing to marry or take a collar. But he can hardly complain about a match with House Goneril, except for the fact that producing heirs will be a bit more complicated.”

Hilda grins. “I’m sure we can find a way around that problem. If nothing else, we can always do what he did and adopt an heir or two. Though we do have this tiny little matter of the war to deal with before we can think about heirs and titles and all of that.”

Marianne sobers at that thought. “Yes. Our chances of defeating Edelgard are...concerning at best. Depending on how that goes, I may not have a house to inherit before too long.”

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking the same thing. I’ve been talking about it with Claude, and he says if things go south in the war, we can try to flee and escape to Almyra. You know he has family and a lot of connections there. It would be very different from our lives here in Fodlan, but at least we’d be alive and together. You’d be turning your back on a lot more than I would, though, as the heir to a house. Is that something you’d be okay with?” 

Marianne doesn’t have to think twice about her answer. “Yes, I want to stay with you. It may be horrible of me to say, but Edmund doesn’t mean as much to me as you do. And it may be the best thing for everyone if we lose the war. My father has been careful to stay as neutral as he can. If I leave with you he may be able to keep the House.”

Hilda looks at her with appreciation. “It seems we’ve both been giving this a lot of thought, which I guess makes sense given our circumstances. Okay then, pretty girl, it’s decided. Whatever fortune brings us in this war, we’ll get through it together.”

“Yes, together.” Marianne is flooded with a sense of relief as they seal their promise with a kiss. Her future feels just a little less uncertain, and whatever comes next in her life, she knows Hilda will be a part of it. She can’t quite believe how lucky she is that Hilda chose her. 

Hilda stretches and yawns. “And now we should both get some sleep. Tomorrow is a big day! We have letters to write to our families, and we get to make a big announcement to all of our friends. Ooh, I can’t wait for them to see you in your collar!”

Marianne chuckles and settles into the place where she now knows she belongs, in Hilda’s arms.