dedication: to jinlian tumblr.
notes: lmao this is literally like two years over-due im so sorry anna
summary: Alanna doesn't freak out. (Alanna freaks out.) — Delia/Alanna/Alex.
Alanna doesn't freak out.
(Alanna freaks out.)
The sun's risen, and the whole world is way too bright. She sits up straight, squeaks kind of high-pitched and yanks the covers off of Alex who, holy Goddess, is in her bed? Alanna does not remember how she got her, Black God take her, she is going to be struck down for this.
There is a profound moment of terror. She's not wearing her bandages. Delia knows. Alex knows. She's not going to live the day out, soon the whole palace is going to know, and she's going to be thrown out, and Coram is going to be in trouble, and Jon is going to be in trouble because Jon knows, too, Goddess, the world is going to end—
Delia rolls over, nuzzles her face into Alanna's side. "S'too early, Alan, go back to sleep."
"Alanna," Alex says, unhelpfully, "she's Alanna."
Delia hums acknowledgement, but doesn't open her eyes. There's sunlight trickling down her hair, a shining riotous mess of curls, and something lodges hard in Alanna's throat. There's a dusting of freckles across her shoulders that she hadn't seen in the shadow of the fire, the only blemishes on an otherwise-milk-smooth complexion.
(Delia is beautiful. This is all her fault.)
"Shut up, Alex," Alanna says.
"Well," he says, "that's not very nice."
"I'm not feeling very nice, Alex," she says, and it's not heat in her voice, it's the kind of panic that chokes a person up and puts them down, runs a sword through their gut on a Tusaine battlefield, leaves a squire hanging in handcuffs at Duke Roger's behest—
Alanna goes very still. Oh, Goddess, Roger. Alex is Roger's squire. Alex is Roger's squire, and he is in her bed.
This may very well be the worst day of Alanna's short life.
"Come back here, I'm cold," Delia mumbles as she curls up around Alanna's back, huddling bare skin against bare skin. A shudder goes through Alanna that has nothing to do with the cold seeping from the walls. "Alan—Alanna—whatever your name is—stop. Stop thinking. We can think later. Right now it's time to sleep."
Her arms snake around Alanna's chest to cup her breasts. And.
"Delia," Alanna hisses, "stop."
"Do I have to," Delia says petulantly. It's not a question.
"No," Alex answers for her. Alanna turns her blazing gaze on him, but he's staring at her quite calmly. There are smudges beneath his eyes, the kind that you only get when you've not had enough sleep—she hadn't noticed them before tonight, but they're bruise-violet, too deep to have only been one night's lost sleep. She reaches up to press her fingers there, a little self-concious, just as Delia hooks her chin over Alanna's shoulder.
"When was the last time you slept, Alex?" Alanna asks, voice a sharp shattering sound in the sunlight-fuzzy chamber.
"Last night," Alex says easily.
"Before that, stupid," and she gives him the stink-eye because he knows what she means.
(Her lizard hindbrain has decided that it will deal with now and now only. The repercussions of now and now only will be dealt with later, when Alanna has had more sleep and is not still a little sex-senseless, when she has a handle on just what, exactly, is going on in Alex's head.)
He is very quiet.
"Alexander," Delia says, dropping her voice to that sultry low pitch that got Alanna into this mess in the first place. She's a soft warm thing at Alanna's back, oddly solid for all her bird-light bones and breakable hands. "Answer her."
"I don't remember," Alex says, and that's—that's Alex honest, that is, the way his voice catches at the end, a little too rough for a lie. Alanna's known Alex since she was ten years old: this may be the first time in a long time that he's forgotten how to lie to her. All the smooth dark silk of him has gone tense, like he thinks she might hit him for it. It gives her the freedom to wedge a knee into his stomach, a vague kind of threat for all it's really an attempt to make him stay where he is.
(Which, ridiculous, five minutes ago she would have given her right eye for Alex to be back in his own quarters with his clothes on and not here. Now, not so much.)
"You don't remember," she repeats.
"No," Alex says, and for a minute there's something terrifying behind his regard.
"Goddess," Alanna says, "how are you even alive."
Delia, behind her, shakes a little thrill like she likes the grumpy sourness that turns Alanna's mouth down. She is very strange, Alanna reflects, and tries to avoid thinking about the fact that Delia's fingers are tweaking across her nipple. Not the time, Delia. Not the time, Alanna.
"Good question," Alex says dully.
"I'm going to punch you," Alanna says, almost kindly.
"Oh, can I do it?" Delia buts in. Her teeth graze along Alanna's earlobe. "I'd love to do it."
"Delia, no," both Alex and Alanna say, at the exact same time, in the same tone of voice. They blink at each other as Delia laughs breathlessly, her arm pressing into Alanna's neck as she reaches for Alex's face.
"You two are so alike," she says, fondly, looks them over dripping proprietary disdain. "It is disgusting. What would the Prince say if he knew?"
There's an awkward beat between them, as everything Alanna has shoved to the back of her head blooms in between them. She carefully avoids Alex's watching eyes.
(Alex will tell Roger. Roger will tell the King. Alanna will probably not live very long. Goddess take them both.)
"Oh, stop that," Delia huffs. "I said, didn't I? No one needs to know. We can go on exactly as we have done, nothing will be different."
"Except we're sleeping together," Alanna says, deadpan. She twists around to look Delia in the face because it's easier to face the lady laying claim than to face Alex's dark eyes, Alex's accusing faith.
"Except that," Delia agrees, nods brightly. "I don't think you know how long I've wanted this, darling, you're so impossible to get a hold on."
Her hand curls deliberately around Alanna's hip.
Alanna goes ruddy.
"That's horrible," says Alex, which is a reasonable observation because it probably is. He's propped up on an elbow, looking down at the both of them, and Goddess knows no one with Alanna's colouring looks good when they're blushing. They just look like their head's caught on fire. Frankly, no one with Alanna's colouring looks good, period. "Your face, Alan—Alanna, how does it do that?"
"Shut up, Alex, no one asked you," Alanna says, and shoves her elbow into his stomach.
"Be nice, Alanna," Delia says pleasantly, but her nails contract against Alex's chest. Alanna is vindicated.
The sheets are soft beneath them, and warm, because three bodies make more heat than Alanna had ever really thought about. It's not chaste, exactly; Delia's hands skate across the planes of Alanna's body, sneak back to pinch and poke at Alex, to pull him closer, still sweat-slick and sticky from last night. They're a pile of limbs and skin, hungry mouths just a little off-time.
Alanna is fervently glad that Faithful decided to stay away. She wouldn't even know where to begin.
"I'm not sorry," Alanna says fiercely. It hangs in the air like something breathing, and maybe it is. She doesn't know who she's talking to.
"Don't be," Delia says, carelessly. She nudges closer, presses into the crevices of Alanna's body like something wild attacking a locked door: ruthlessly, viciously, until she's so close that Alanna can't tell where Delia ends and Alanna begins. "I like you like this."
Alex, too. His mouth finds her shoulder, and he doesn't say anything at all.
Alanna slums back into him. "What about—?"
"We'll figure it out," Delia says. She's their mouthpiece, it seems—she speaks and they listen, they listen and she speaks. Neither Alanna nor Alex are good at words (not honest ones, anyway), so it's an elegant solution to an inelegant problem.
"But what if Jon—"
"No," Delia says, decisive. Alanna's a little shocked at the steel in the voice. "I mean it. This is none of his business, do you understand? It has nothing to do with him."
"He knows," Alanna says under her breath.
"He knows," she says again, nods at—all of this. "He knows that I'm—that I'm—"
"He knows that you're a girl," Alex finishes the sentence for her. She's not grateful at all.
Alanna nods, because, well, he does. Jon knows, has known from the beginning, will know to the end. He knew before anyone else, and she thinks of the Sweating Sickness, of the part of his lips, the odd green tinge to his skin that screamed magic.
(She hasn't put it all together it. The fog still clings like it does to the lake in the morning, still too thick to be burnt away by the sun. But soon, she knows. Soon.)
"Will he keep it a secret?" Delia asks, softly.
"He has, so far," Alanna replies.
"Well," she says. "Good, then. We have nothing to worry 'bout, do we? His Highness will help. We're in this together, Alan—na."
"You can call me Alan, if it helps," Alanna says, shifting awkwardly. Alex's mouth is doing terrible things to her neck. She might have to elbow him again, she needs to keep it together right now.
"No," Delia says. "I like Alanna. It's pretty. Suits you. In public we'll have to, but right now, we're alone, so it's not a problem."
"Alanna," Delia says, and then, again, "Alanna. Ah-lah-nah. Alex, what about you? Alan, or Alanna?"
"Alanna," he says, grinning.
"Alan would be easier," Alanna says, moves her arm so that he slides in closer. They slot together like wooden blocks, puzzle pieces, swords in sheathes. There's a kind of symmetry to them, too, Alex dark and Alanna light and Delia dark again, all burned white in the blister of the morning. And she's right, it would be easier, because likely they'll slip up and call her Alanna when there's someone else around, and then—
"Ah-lah-nah," Delia says again, breaks the syllables of it up to kiss her between each one.
Alex watches them kiss each other, teeth aching in his mouth to lay into the pair of them, both so small, both so dangerous. Alanna curls a hand into her hair, keens when he slides his hand in between her thighs.
"Traitor," she gasps.
He doesn't reply, to that.