Remember Me | Miriam
Before we jump into Alec’s prologue, I just had this one last part to cover, which is the three year period before the game where Nadia went into her coma. Since Miriam is going to be featured in the prologue (and a few of the routes), I thought it would be important to have this part of the timeline established.
In which, Miriam has to deal with losing Lucio and Nadia, Jamil becoming distant, and Valerius, along with the rest of the courtiers, stepping in for Nadia to take over Vesuvia.
CW: Mention of memory loss, alcohol
Title: Remember Me by UMI
Miriam felt like her world had been pulled out from under her in the blink of an eye.
In one night, she had lost two of her closest friends. One to a fire, the other to a deep sleep.
She could still feel the ghost of flames on her hands as she tried to get to Lucio.
She fought to get into his room, past the courtiers who just stood there, past Valerius, who looked almost as shocked as she felt.
It was the doctor, Doctor Devorak, who had pulled her from the flames, shortly before Valerius had him arrested for killing Lucio. And when Miriam had turned to find Nadia, to see if she could make any sense of what had happened, she found her, asleep, and she wouldn’t wake up for anything.
When Miriam’s older sibling, Andrea Drago, had come to Vesuvia with the rest of the doctors sent to try and treat Nadia, they had been able to reverse most of the burns from her hands, but tiny scars still littered her hands, and her nerves still seemed damaged.
“Ah, Gigi,” they had sighed, holding her as she cried, like they would when she was much smaller. “You always get hurt for others. Who is looking out for you?”
Miriam hadn’t been able to answer, though she knew the answer was “no one.” At least, not anymore.
They had tried to get her to leave, to come home to Venterre with them, but Miriam refused. Nadia was still alive, at least, and Miriam wasn’t going to leave her, not yet.
Unfortunately, staying meant having to deal with the court even more intimately than she was used to, and it meant dealing with Valerius, who, having stepped in for Nadia, was more insufferable than he had ever been, and it drove her up a wall.
He used to be someone she could at least talk to, even if it wasn’t for long, they had more in common than they liked to admit. But now, it was like she didn’t know him anymore. So, she felt completely alone.
In the back of her mind, she knew that Jamil was still in the city, and she meant to visit him, but every time she tried to leave the palace, something new came up that required her attention. But, a few months later, Jamil came to the palace for the first time in almost a year.
Miriam dropped everything she was doing when the chamberlain came to her and let her know Jamil was at the palace. He was waiting in a salon when she found him, pacing.
“Alfonso?” She ran to him, looking him up and down. He didn’t look like he had after Alec’s death, but there was still something… off about him. “Are you alright? I haven’t heard anything from you in months now, what happened—"
Jamil didn’t even greet her before he spoke. “We’re leaving the city.”
Miriam stopped, her head tilting to the side. “You—what? Why?”
He looked exhausted in a way that she had never seen before, different from even how he had looked when she visited him at the shop with Nadia. Exhausted, but there was some fire, some anger she didn’t recognize on him in his eyes. Jamil glanced around them, though they were alone in the salon, and leaned in closer.
Miriam was completely lost. “What… what about her?”
“She’s back. She’s back, and we don’t know how, but she’s not… something’s not right.”
“You’re not making any sense.”
Jamil laughed roughly, a harsh sound that didn’t fit coming from his mouth and pushed his hair back out of his face. “Nothing makes much sense anymore. But Alec’s back, she’s alive again.”
“What?” Miriam sunk down onto the couch, hand covering her face. “She—How—” Looking up at Jamil, she felt desperation creep into her voice. Desperate for any sense of familiarity. “Can I see her?”
“No.” Jamil stayed standing, starting to pace around the salon again. “She doesn’t… She doesn’t remember anyone.”
“Not even you?”
He paused in his pacing. Miriam watched him age in front of her eyes, and suddenly the five-year gap between them felt much larger.
“Not even me,” he said, a tremor in his voice.
“But… you just said you’re leaving the city. Why would you do that—shouldn’t you be staying with her? Even if her memories are gone, you can still help her—"
“I know that!” Jamil sighed, sitting on the couch next to her. “I know that.” He buried his face in his hands. “I don’t want to leave. I feel like—like we’re making a horrible mistake. But she… she’s just getting worse with us here.”
Miriam wrapped her arm around his shoulder, and he leaned into her. “Where will you go?”
“Not far. There’s—we found a hut in the Catclaw Desert that the three of us will fit comfortably in. It’s almost a three days walk from Vesuvia, but still, not too far.”
“What about Nadia?”
He pulled back to look at her. “What do you mean?”
“She’s… she’s been asleep for months. Is there anything you can do for her? You’re just going to leave her, and me, too?”
Jamil sighed again, shaking his head. “I can’t stay here, Giano, believe me, I wish I could. But I doubt there’s anything I could do for Nadia. I know Drea saw her, and if they couldn’t help her, there’s nothing I can do. It’s not like I have any magic to help.”
Miriam knew that. She had figured that out on her own, and knew she was just as helpless. But the idea of being alone in Vesuvia made her want to cry.
“Would you write to me?”
Jamil gave her a soft smile, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “I’ll try.”
They sat in silence for a moment before Jamil stood up to leave. Miriam followed him out of the salon, stopping at the doors behind him.
“Giano, can you promise me something?”
“Please don’t reach out to Alec. I know—” his shoulders sagged. “I know it’s hard. I know you want to see her. But if she sees you, we don’t know what might happen.”
For a second, Miriam wanted to argue. She wanted to say that wasn’t fair, he got to see her, but she didn’t. But she took in the deep, suffocating sorrow in his eyes, a darker green than she remembered, and just nodded again. “I promise.”
“Thank you.” Jamil hugged her tightly, once, and then he was gone.
Miriam’s head felt heavy on her shoulders, and that night she didn’t sleep, staring at the ceiling. She could only think about the last time she had seen Alec, in the palace, dressed in the same doctor’s outfit that so many people had been. She had seemed so tired, so worn, but she always gave Miriam a smile and wave when they passed each other.
And then she had disappeared. Died, and Miriam hadn’t noticed until it was too late.
She broke her promise to Jamil exactly once.
Six months after he left, she made her way to the shop in the evening. It had been a long, horribly frustrating day, and she knew that she wasn’t in the right mind to be leaving, but she didn’t stop herself. All day she had fought endlessly with the court, fought endlessly with Valerius, and fought with herself on staying. She needed something, anything familiar. Anything good. And she could only think of one thing that she had left.
Losing herself through the streets a few times, finally she reached the shop as the moon began to rise. She went to knock on the door, but hesitated, hearing the sound of the shop’s old piano ring from inside.
She thought she could hear singing along with the piano, familiar singing, and turned to go around the back of the shop when the door opened.
It wasn’t Alec that answered the door, but the magician, Asra. Miriam had crossed paths with him a few times while he helped Doctor Devorak work on a cure for the plague, but he had also practically disappeared after the Masquerade.
Asra glanced behind him and stepped out of the shop, closing the door softly. “You… You’re Miriam, right?”
She nodded. “Asra.”
He mirrored her nod, white hair shaking around his face, his hands pressed behind him on the door. “What are you doing here?”
“I…” She tried to keep the desperation out of her voice. “I wanted to see her.”
“Jamil told you?”
“Just that she was back, somehow. And… that she doesn’t remember anyone.” She watched Asra’s face fall, just slightly.
“And you still came.”
“I just wanted to see her,” she repeated. “I know—Jamil asked me not to try to reach out to her, and I’m not, I just… I just wanted to make sure she was okay. When he told me she was back, I almost didn’t believe him. But…”
Asra sighed, running a hand through his curls, and Miriam wondered for a moment if he had learned that motion from Jamil. As far as she knew, he had been friends with Alec for a very long time, and surely, he had spent just as much time with the rest of the band.
Before she could wonder further, he walked away from the door. “Come on, I’ll let you see her.”
Miriam felt her heart leap in her chest and hurried to follow him around the back of the shop. They paused at the back window, looking into the shop’s back room, and Asra stepped aside, letting Miriam peek in.
In the far corner, Alec was sitting at the upright piano, sheet music scattered around her. It looked just like the room always had, if it wasn’t for how empty it was aside from her. Her long hair trailed down her back, unbraided, but though it much have been somewhat in her eyes, Alec didn’t seem bothered. She seemed almost in a trance as she played, swaying on the rickety piano bench that groaned with every movement. Miriam didn’t recognize the song Alec was playing, but it brought tears to her eyes as Alec sang, her voice soft and tired.
“She still won’t… won’t speak to me, yet, but she’s singing. That’s better than silence.” The pain Miriam heard in Asra’s voice made her chest hurt, and she turned to him.
“Is there anything I can do to help you? Either of you; I can get you anything from the palace, or send for my sibling—they’re a doctor, they could help—"
Asra shook his head. “Went over that with Jamil. There’s nothing a doctor can do to help her… not with this.” He leaned against the wall of the shop. “And there’s really nothing we need. Before the plague, Camia signed the shop to both of our names, and when they left Jamil gave us a lot of money from his family. I just—we just need her to keep recovering, for now.”
Whereas Miriam had watched Jamil age in front of her before, now she saw Asra for just how young he was. He wasn’t meant to be a caretaker to his friend, he wasn’t meant to have these kinds of concerns. It wasn’t fair.
Miriam looked back at Alec, who was still tapping away at the keys, her voice cracking slightly as she sang. She was only a year older than Asra, still too young to have to deal with the same things. She came back, but at the cost of her family and friends, her memories. It wasn’t fair.
Before she could give into her tears in front of Asra, Miriam hugged him. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, and she felt him hug her back, hesitantly at first, then his grip tightened.
He didn’t reply, he just shook in her arms, and she held him as he cried.
After a while, the music inside the shop stopped, and Asra pulled away. “I need to get back to her.”
Miriam nodded. “Thank you, for letting me see her.”
He gave her a small smile, eyes red. “If we need anything, I’ll let you know. But, for now…”
“I’ll stay away, I promise.”
Asra went back inside, but Miriam stayed at the window for a moment, watching as he walked into the back room. Alec was glancing around the room, a distant look in her eyes. Once he entered, she stood up from the piano almost immediately, running over to him, and threw her arms over his shoulders. She couldn’t see the tired look on Asra’s face, but Miriam could, and just as he glanced back at the window, she left.
She managed to hold herself together all the way to the Palace, only collapsing into her own tears when she reached her room, the moon high in the sky.
Almost two years after Lucio’s death, Miriam realized that she needed more help around the palace. She and the chamberlain split most duties, but Miriam was having trouble tending to the needs of the palace and Nadia. As much as it pained her, she couldn’t be by Nadia’s side like she wanted to.
So, when a smart young woman from Nevivon practically landed on the palace steps looking for work, how could Miriam say no?
As a plus, Portia, as she introduced herself, was quite fun.
The two of them got along very quickly, and it became a game for them to pass by each other in the halls and share some tidbit of gossip or go over the magical passageways hidden throughout the palace. Portia was far better at finding them than Miriam was, but she didn’t mind. The rest of the palace took a liking to her as well, and she fit right in with servants who had been there for decades.
Appointing her as Nadia’s handmaiden was the easiest choice Miriam had ever made, and she trusted her completely to look after Nadia. More than once she caught Portia talking to Nadia as she slept, and Miriam would laugh and tease her about it, but nothing made her happier.
One day, Portia was with her when the mail came in, and they both sat in Nadia’s room looking it all over. Miriam was sifting through the letters when one in particular caught her eye.
It was from one of Nadia’s sisters, from Prakra, addressed to Nadia.
“What’s that one say?” Portia asked, noticing Miriam pause.
“It’s from Nasmira… Uh, one of Nadia’s sisters.” Miriam looked the letter over quickly and sighed. “Dia never liked talking about them much. I don’t think they got along very well.” She tucked the letter into a drawer in Nadia’s desk with a handful of similar letters.
Portia tilted her head in confusion. “Aren’t you going to reply to it?”
“I’ve written her family before and explained the situation as best as I could.” She shut the drawer. “Having them come here wouldn’t be helpful to anyone right now, so there’s no need to worry them further.”
Judging by the look on Portia’s face, she didn’t agree, but Miriam just moved on, turning back to the other letters.
Finally, almost three years after Lucio’s death, Nadia woke up.
Miriam was in the kitchens, helping unload a shipment of food, when Portia ran into the kitchens from a magical passageway, hair loose and panting hard.
“Miri, she’s awake!”
Miriam ran past Portia, not even giving her a second to say anything else. She flew down the hallways to Nadia’s room, and composed herself just enough to not throw the doors open to see Nadia.
The Countess was sitting up in her bed, very much awake, if not a bit sluggish, but she turned her head to look at Miriam as she entered.
“Dia!” Miriam was by her side immediately, reaching out to take Nadia’s hand. “Oh, thank the gods you’re awake—I was beginning to think—”
When Nadia pulled her hand away, Miriam stopped, worry settling over her shoulders again.
“Are you okay?”
“I am…” Nadia touched her head to her head, pain flashing across her face for the briefest moment. “I am fine, yes. You…”
“Miriam.” Her heart sank to her stomach. “Miriam Diamandis? I—I’m the palace’s sommelier, have been for a, uh, few years now.”
“Yes. Miriam.” Nadia waved her off, and Miriam stood back, feeling as if she had been slapped across the face. “Would you please call Portia back in here for me? I feel a headache coming on.”
As she spoke, and turned to face Miriam, her heart fell even further. There it was. The same distant look Miriam had seen on Alec’s face, but directed at her now, and from the woman she loved most in the entire world.
“I… Of course. My apologies, Countess.”
On shaking legs, she stood up from the bed, and made her way out of Nadia’s room, passing Portia in the hall.
“She asked for you.”
Portia’s mouth fell open in shock and she glanced past Miriam. “For me?”
She nodded, and just kept walking. And kept walking until she had made it to her wine cellar, fumbling with the key in the lock, almost stumbling down the stairs as she started to sob.
Nadia didn’t remember her. And she had no idea why.
Was it her fault? Had she done something to make her forget? Did Nadia not want to remember her?
It must have been hours that Miriam sat in her cellar and cried, though for once no one came searching for her. Except for Mercedes and Melchior, who scratched and howled at the cellar door for a minute until someone chased them away.
Eventually Miriam calmed enough to look around her, and sought out a bottle of wine, something strong that she had been saving for better times, but figured that she needed it now.
She had almost finished the bottle when she heard a voice at the top of the cellar stairs, closing the door behind them.
It was Valerius. Miriam swore, trying to wipe at her eyes as quickly as she could. He was the absolute last person she wanted seeing her like this, so close to her breaking point.
As she fixed herself, he continued down the stairs, heels clicking with every step. “Are you down here?”
She cleared her throat. “Yeah, I’m here. What do you want?”
“I heard Nadia woke up.” Valerius walked over to the table, sitting across from her with a huff, throwing his braid over his shoulder. “I went to visit her, and she seemed in good health, if not a little disoriented.” He took the bottle of wine from her and grabbed an empty glass, not looking at her as he spoke. “I must say I was surprised that you weren’t glued to her side, instead, that new servant girl was with her. What was her name again?”
“Portia.” Miriam huffed, irritation spiking her tone. “And she’s been here a year, she’s not new anymore. You would know that if you paid any attention to someone other than yourself and I—”
Valerius was staring at her now, having stopped pouring his wine. They held the stare for a moment before Miriam’s cheeks grew warm, and she covered her face in her hands.
“No, you’re not.”
She laughed through her nose. “No, I guess not.” Sighing, she peeked out at him between her fingers, and shook her head when she saw his full glass. “Having a rough night?”
“Says the woman who finished the rest of the bottle on her own.”
“And you didn’t think to ask me if I was having a rough time?”
“That would require me to pay attention to someone other than myself, I think.”
A dry laugh escaped her. “I suppose it would.”
They fell into silence, Valerius sipping at his wine and studying her. Miriam was used to that by now, the way his cold gaze would trail over her as he prepared some sly comment to make, but it felt different this time. Maybe because she was vulnerable, so close to breaking down, and his gaze felt like it was poking into the cracks around her mask. Maybe because, despite everything they had gone through the last few years, at least they had gone through it together—more or less—and he was the last piece of the time before Lucio died that she had left.
When he finally broke the silence, what he said was so far from what she was expecting, so unlike him, it almost brought her immediately to tears.
“Have you been sleeping?”
She looked up at him, fidgeting with the rim of her own glass. “Um, not… not really.” Sighing, she glanced at the now empty bottle of wine and stood to get another. “There’s just so much to do, and I mean, now that Nadia’s awake, I might be able to relax a little bit, but then—” She doesn’t even remember me.
Once that thought—that fact, reappeared in her mind, Miriam broke. She wished she could disappear, that the floor would swallow her whole, anything, but instead she stood in place, shoulders shaking as she started to cry again.
She barely heard the sound of Valerius’s chair scraping the floor as he got up and walked over to her, but the feeling of his hand on her arm—as much as she craved it—made her tense up.
“No, don’t.” She stepped back, turning away from him. “Don’t.”
Valerius didn’t touch her again, but he didn’t leave either. “Miriam, what is it? Is there something wrong with Nadia?”
There’s something wrong with me, she thought, but just shook her head in reply, wiping at her eyes. “No—I mean, I’m just… happy she’s awake. Finally.”
He exhaled sharply, walking past her to pull another bottle of wine. “You are the world’s worst liar, Miriam Diamandis.”
Miriam bristled, facing him again. “Hey! I’m not—” he shot her a look over his shoulder as he walked back to the table, refilling his glass. She felt her cheeks warm and sat back down across from him. “…not that bad of a liar.”
He refilled her glass and set the bottle on the table. Holding his glass, he gestured to hers, and she lifted it up. They nodded slightly at the other, and after they had both taken a sip, he spoke again.
“I won’t ask you again if anything’s wrong; you clearly don’t want to tell me, and that’s fine. That’s not who we are to each other.” Valerius looked almost remorseful, almost, but it was gone as Miriam blinked. “And to be frank, I have enough problems of my own to handle right now to be worrying about yours as well. Ones I don’t want to get into, here.”
Miriam laughed, once, taking another sip. “Thanks, Val.”
“But—” He held his hand up. “But this,” he gestured between them and at the bottle of wine, “this we could stand to do more often, I think. We used to do this even when Nadia and Lucio were both… around, I suppose, and do you not think that for one evening a week, every two weeks, even, this might be something we would both benefit from?”
“What, a bitch session?”
“You—Fine, yes, a bitch session, you vulgar woman.”
“You never seemed to mind vulgarity from me at night before.” Miriam laughed, really laughed, when she saw the look on Valerius’s face, a mix of anger, exhaustion, and mortification, and she waved her hand. “Alright, alright, I’m sorry.”
“I take it back.”
“Aw, no, Val, I said I’m sorry.”
Valerius grumbled, sipping at his wine, but didn’t get up to leave.
“I did miss this. I missed a lot of things about how we all were before—” She still couldn’t say before Lucio died, even after all that time. “Before the last Masquerade.”
If Valerius noticed what she skirted around, he was gracious enough to not comment on it, though she assumed he was just as tired of it as she was. “It was… considerably different then.”
She took another sip of wine. “That’s putting it mildly.”
For the first time in a few years, they slipped into a comfortable silence, which eventually turned into a comfortable conversation. One thing they still had in common was their hatred of the rest of the court, and they were quick to bring up a particularly infuriating meeting from a week or so ago.
When they finished that bottle of wine, they left, parting ways at the top of the stairs.
Miriam wished him good night, knowing instinctively that the moment they had shared would not be easily recreated, and most likely would be soured by whatever the next day would bring, but for now, she would enjoy it.
She almost turned to go to Nadia’s room, on instinct, but stopped. It would probably be better, for herself and Nadia, if she let her remember on her own time, and didn’t try to force it. Miriam had been waiting for her to wake up for so long already, what was a little more time to let her recover?
So, she kept her distance.
But Nadia did not seem to be able to remember, or want to remember, and Miriam watched her, and Portia speak together much like Miriam used to, and felt her heart drag behind her on the ground with every step.
There was one morning that Miriam happened to catch them both on the veranda as Nadia took breakfast, her head in her hands.
“If only I could find that magician, Portia, I am sure I would have my answers.” Nadia sighed, shaking her head. “So much still unclear, but they were there, in my dreams. They must know something.”
Portia hummed as she poured Nadia’s tea. “I can ask around, Countess, see if anyone has seen them. What did they look like, again?”
As Nadia described the magician in her dreams, Miriam couldn’t stop herself from joining them outside, her feet moving faster than she could stop them.
Both Nadia and Portia turned to look at her, falling silent.
“Forgive me for overhearing, my lady.” Miriam bowed, but continued quickly before Nadia could say anything. “But I believe I know the magician you dreamt of.”
Nadia exchanged a glance with Portia. “You do?”
“I…” Miriam saw sapphire eyes sparkling under ballroom lights, warm brown skin glistening in the morning sun, heard laughter as it echoed through the halls of the palace, felt calloused hands in hers. She also saw the distant look in those blue eyes, the way her voice had cracked when she sang, and heard the haunted whispers of the city in her wake. “I know of her, at least.”
“Would you tell me about her? At least where I might find her? I can’t explain it, but I feel that I must meet with her.”
When Portia pulled a chair out for her, Miriam sat down, across from Nadia, her hands clasping and unclasping in her lap. Gods, she hoped she was doing the right thing. She had promised Jamil, and Asra, to stay away. But Nadia was looking at her, really looking at her, for the first time in what felt like forever. And she needed her again, even if just for a moment. And maybe, after almost three years, it had been long enough. With a deep breath, she pushed her doubts aside and spoke.
“Her name is Alec.”
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When it Rains in the Valley
Stardew Valley fic - ShanexFemaleFarmerOC
NSFW - One shot
You could have happily stayed curled up in bed for another hour or more, but even though your eyes were still closed and your body still relaxed and warm below the quilt your mind was dragging itself awake.
Sighing softly through your nose, you burrowed deeper into the mattress and allowed yourself just a little bit longer before getting up and beginning your day. Eyes still shut, you began to mull over the plans that had begun forming the previous night as you dropped off to sleep. The wheat field would be ready to harvest soon, and there was the irrigation system to fine-tune before replanting with a new crop. Rows of corn stalks packed with ears that would need to be picked before the crows got at them. And of course there were the chickens that would need feeding and cows that would need milking.
The list was never ending, crops to tend to, repairs to be made, wood to gather, fruit to be made into jams and jellies, vegetables canned and preserved. You were proud of your modest little farmstead, even if it did require all the work and attentiveness you could muster.
With another gentle sigh you began building up the will to hoist yourself out of bed, going still when a soft, rhythmic sound met your ears. You stilled, frowning into the pillow, recognition coming slowly into your still-sleep-muddled brain. Just as you worked out what it was, you felt the mattress shift beside you as a heavy form settled at the edge of the bed, an arm reaching across you to brace against the comforter.
A familiar scent and a waft of warm breath across your cheek as a kiss was pressed there, the ticklish scratch of stubble against your skin that made goosebumps sweep up your arms. You didn’t open your eyes, but you couldn’t contain the smile that stretched your lips as another kiss landed on your temple.
“It’s raining.” Humming, you rolled onto your back, caged between the arm braced against the mattress at your side and the warm, solid body that perched on the edge of the bed. Even in the semi-darkness of the stormy, pre-dawn morning you could see him; his dark hair damp and sticking up oddly in a few places, his ratty blue Jojamart jacket nowhere to be seen. He smelled faintly of rain, crisp and tangy mixed in with the rich, earthy aroma of clean hay and the heady, somewhat spicy scent you’d come to associate with just him. As you were taking him in he did the same to you, his forest green eyes roving your form with avid interest and a profound fondness that made your breath catch in your throat. When your eyes met he grinned lopsidedly, lowering his face back to yours and favoring you with soft, languid kisses to your cheeks, your chin and nose and forehead, not stopping even when you giggled and squirmed at the tickle of his scruff.
“I thought that’s what it sounded like,” you murmured in response, curling a hand around the top of his shoulder as he drew back enough so you could look at one another. Shane shifted then, reaching up with a hand to brush a stray fall of hair off your forehead.
“I had an idea,” he said, his voice soft and low, making you shiver. You raised your brows at him, an invitation to continue.
“You won’t need to water the fields today,” he went on. “And I just came in from taking care of the animals. I know you wanted to fix up the irrigation in the wheat field, but you can’t do it in the rain…. So the morning is pretty wide open...” You were grinning now, the hand on his shoulder gradually working its way up the curve of his neck while his own hand likewise began to wander, feeling for the top of the blanket and peeling it back enough to find the hem of your sleep shirt which had ridden up in the night.
As his fingers splayed across your stomach, sliding in no particular hurry up towards your ribcage, your hand caught him by the back of his neck, urging his head down to you. You could see and hear him swallow as he complied, not quite able to shake his nerves even though this had been his idea. Craning your neck, you kissed the tiny furrow between his eyebrows, soothing away the worried lines on his features. “What did you have in mind?” you teased, able to discern the flush creeping up his neck and blooming on his cheeks even in the low light.
Abruptly the large, warm hand on your torso slid up to cup your breast, kneading gently, the short, blunt thumbnail toying with your nipple until it hardened. When you let out an appreciative purr and reciprocated by raking your nails through the fine, buzzed hair at the base of his skull, Shane shuddered and dove down to capture your mouth in a heated kiss. You broke apart long enough to kick yourself free of the covers as he clambered fully onto the bed, toeing off his wet shoes before settling at your side, supporting himself on one elbow so he could lean over you.
Things stilled for a moment between you. Excitement was sparking through your body, waking you fully, every inch of skin prickling attentively in anticipation but you were transfixed by the awestruck look on his face, as if he still couldn’t believe something like this was happening to him. His eyes were riveted to you, flitting all over, seemingly unable to settle anywhere for long. You watched his tongue dart out to wet his parted lips, his chest rising and falling quicker despite the fact that all that had transpired so far was a hot kiss and copping a feel.
Shane tended to get lost in his own head, and for most of the time you had known each other that could be a treacherous place. But you knew just how to bring him back to the here and now. Smiling, you reached up to touch his face, loving the rasp of his whiskers against your palm. He turned to press his lips into your hand, a rush of warmth spreading from the center of your chest outward.
“C’mere,” you breathed into the space between you, meeting his mouth halfway as he leaned down to kiss you. You sighed into the kiss, drinking in the smell and taste and feel of him in the soft give and take that followed, quickly growing more demanding and desperate as you all but tugged him bodily on top of you. Fingers delved into his hair, scratching his scalp as your legs tangled together: yours bare but for cotton sleep shorts, his in old jeans from where he’d gone out to the coop and the barn. The rough texture against your calves and thighs was rapidly causing arousal to pool, bubbling like molten metal, in your pelvis. Shane had rucked your shirt up practically to your neck, squeezing and massaging your chest while breaking off from your lips to kiss a chain across your cheek to the sensitive spot behind your ear.
“Fuck,” he gasped, hot breath blasting against the side of your neck. “You’re so beautiful. How are you so beautiful?” You felt yourself flushing under his murmured words of praise, struggling to get your shirt off and out of the way. Noticing your wriggling, Shane backed off and took the bunched material in his hands as you sat up enough to slip your arms and head out. His lust-blown eyes grew impossibly larger as he distractedly dropped your shirt and lowered himself, chest to chest, pressing you down into the mattress as he ravished your exposed neck and collarbones and shoulders with single-minded attention; lips and teeth and tongue, a mix of heat and chill as his breath ghosted over the dampened skin before pressing hot, open mouth kisses anywhere he could reach.
You mewled softly at his ministrations, your blood scorching as it roared in your veins, your pulse thumping in your chest and in your ears and between your legs. Sighing his name you tipped your head to one side, offering him more room which he gladly accepted as he sucked marks along the column of your throat. You crossed your ankles around one of his, gripping his leg between yours, an exhilarating swooping sensation in the pit of your stomach at the prominent bulge that pressed into your hip through layers of fabric.
“Mmm, too many clothes,” you managed to say, your hands fumbling for the bottom of the ill-fitting polo shirt he still insisted on wearing, saying it was a waste to wear anything else because it would only get dirty. Shane sucked in a breath as your hands tugged the hem from his waistband and you felt him tense all over.
“Wait, wait,” he stammered. “Just… gimme a second, okay?”
You let out a sad little huff as he lifted himself off you to sit uncertainly back on the side of the bed, sitting up to fix him with a knowing look as he dithered about looking anywhere but at your face. As many times as you had seen one another naked, Shane still got self-conscious sometimes about his physique. As a former athlete, he was even more uncomfortable with the soft chest and rounded stomach that had resulted from the hours he’d logged in the corner by the fireplace at the Stardrop Saloon. You didn’t mind it in the slightest, point of fact you had found him incredibly attractive ever since your first meeting when he waspishly snapped at you to leave him alone. Telling him that you liked the way he looked was all well and good, but he never quite seemed to believe you.
Anyway, showing him was much more fun…
The line of his shoulders was tense as you rose onto your knees, scooting your way across the bed to him. You felt him jump slightly as you leaned against his back, your face angling into the curve of his neck as your arms wound around him. After a beat he relaxed into your embrace with a long sigh, distracted from whatever train of thought was trying to steer him away from you.
“Let me help?” you mumbled against his neck, asking permission but also assuring him that it was what you wanted. You smiled when you felt and heard his breath hitch slightly, your lips ghosting across his skin as he swallowed and nodded his consent. Fingers spread to caress his chest, you slid your palms down the curve of his abdomen towards the bottom of his polo, which was still partially guarded by the arms folded over his middle.
You paused when your fingertips met his forearms, chuckling under your breath and shifting closer, pressing more firmly against him and resting your chin on his shoulder.
“Shane? Honey?” you whispered, tucking your face into the side of his neck and kissing softly at the space behind his ear. A tiny moan issued from between his parted lips, but you had his attention again. “It’s okay.” Slowly, he allowed your fingers to delve past his arms to the hem of his shirt and beneath.
Working slowly, keeping up a steady stream of praises and confirmations muttered into his ear and neck and the side of his head, you shucked off his shirt and cast it aside. Without the fabric separating you, your breasts flush against his bare back, your hands skating up and down his stomach and chest while your mouth worked along the curve of his shoulder, Shane couldn’t keep himself quiet; moans and gasps and whispered curses.
Grinning wickedly against his heated skin, you took a bit of his neck carefully between your teeth while raking your nails through the dark hair that dusted his pecs, circling his nipples and experiencing a sense of satisfaction when the dual sensations drew a choked off cry from him, his back arching and his head falling back over your shoulder.
Your ploy worked, but your triumph was short lived. With his inhibitions now thoroughly forgotten, Shane spun in your arms and caught your lips in a searing kiss as he surged forward back onto the bed, driving you ahead of and then under him as one arm encircled your hips while the free hand kneaded at your chest. Another thrill went through you at his sudden ardor, your hands resuming their stroking and petting as he again broke off the kiss to nip a matching mark on your own neck that made you hiss. You shuddered afterward as you felt his tongue, hot and wet, gently lapping at what would surely be a bruise.
“Hah, still too many clothes,” you breathed against the shell of his ear with a grin. You felt him hum into your skin as an answer, shifting to get his hands and knees under him to raise off of you. His eyes were practically glued to you as you shimmied out of your sleep shorts and underwear, smiling coyly at him as you dropped them carelessly over the side of the bed and lay fully naked before him. For a beat all he seemed able to do was simply gape at you and a nervous flutter started up in your stomach.
In the next instant he settled himself beside you and you threw a leg up and over his hip, pulling flush against him and a little thrilled by the fact that you were now bare while he was still half dressed. Shane began moving, himself and you, scooting his way to the center of the bed and then rolling onto his back and pulling you with him so that you now straddled his waist. His hands both came up to grasp at your ass, fingers digging deliciously into the flesh before sliding up the curve to grip your hips, holding you tight against him as your mouths moved against one another.
You hummed into him as one of his hands roved back over the curve of your ass, the other pressing into your back, holding you to him. The wandering hand didn’t stop at the crest of the rise, continuing on downhill and between your legs where you were already growing pleasantly wet. Two fingers brushed at your lips and you felt Shane smile into your kiss as he noticed it as well, pressing them in just a little further. You gasped into his mouth at the minor intrusion, feeling the rumbling from deep in his chest as he chuckled.
In revenge for his teasing you rolled your hips, grinding against his pelvis and grinning at the groan that escaped him. His hands immediately left your body and fumbled with his button and fly, squirming to work them down his hips without unseating you. Your grin widened at his desperation, but you obligingly raised yourself up onto your knees so he could lift himself off the bed and work his pants down.
His stiff cock bobbed as it slipped free of the constraints of his clothes, coming to rest flush against his soft stomach. You eyed it hungrily, glancing at his face through your lashes. His cheeks were reddened, the fringe of hair over his forehead already sticking to his skin with sweat. When he saw the look you were giving him his blush darkened and he swallowed hard.
Without further stalling you took him in your hand, hearing him suck in a breath through his teeth as you gave him a squeeze before settling yourself down beside him and wrapping your lips around him. Shane’s eyes shut and his head dropped back against the pillow with a muttered curse as you languidly sucked him, lavving the flat of your tongue against the underside of his cock, humming as you went.
“Ah shit, baby, just like that!” he gasped, one hand burying itself in your hair. He shuddered when you took him in deeper, hollowing your cheeks and earning a drawn out groan as his fingers tightened against your scalp. You pulled your head back, letting him slip from between your lips and replacing your mouth with a fist, stroking his spit-slick member until his hips began to judder. Abruptly his hand flew to yours, stopping your ministrations.
“‘M not gonna last long if you keep that up,” he rasped, his chest and shoulders pleasantly flushed. “It’s your turn. C’mere.”
As you repositioned yourself, Shane kicked himself free of his pants, reaching up to discard the pillow under his head and guiding you to straddle his face. “If you need to stop, let me know,” you urged him, but Shane needed no concerns. Raising his head he stroked your slit with his tongue, from cunt to clit, making you gasp at the contact.
From then on he dove in headlong, mouthing your mound with his lips while his tongue sank through your damp folds. He sighed through his nose and groaned into you, the vibrations making your insides clench deliciously as you breathed his name. Shane teased your clit with the tip of his tongue, tracing around and around it until you keened and gripped his hair. You were sopping by now, between his mouth and your own arousal, and ready for more.
You batted his hands away from where they held you in place by your hips, moaning for him to stop, that it was becoming too much. He let his head fall to the mattress, his chin coated in your slick and his own saliva, his chest heaving almost in time with your own.
“Wanna come with you,” you managed to say, reaching down to tenderly glide your fingers through his hair. He leaned into your touch, nodding once. Raising yourself on trembling knees you scooted back down his body until you straddled his waist. Shane tensed when you took his cock in your hand, stroking him lightly as you lined it up with your entrance and sank slowly down onto him. Your moans tangled together until you were seated against his pelvis, taking a beat to catch your breath before you started to move against him.
The burn, the stretch of his cock filling you were delicious, scratching an itch that had been building since he first woke you up. “So good,” he hissed. “You feel so good, baby.”
“Mmm, so you do,” you purred, rocking in his lap. His hands gripped your thighs, fingers clenching against the plump flesh. Your own hands smoothed up his stomach to his chest and back, stroking and petting as you rode him a little faster, chasing the finish you were both desperate for.
Shane didn’t seem able to keep his hips from rising to meet you, with each upward thrust his cock struck at the perfect angle that made you moan. Your head lolled back on your shoulders as you picked up the pace, feeling his body tensing under you. “Are you close?” you asked, looking down at his flushed and sweating face. He nodded, releasing your leg with one hand and bringing it up to his mouth. Licking the pad of his thumb he reached between your legs and circled your clit. The added stimulation made you moan obscenely and increase your pace even more. As you rutted against him Shane grunted with each stroke, his thumb unrelenting in its teasing of your already sensitive clit.
Pleasure had built to a fever pitch in your body as you lost your rhythm completely, thighs screaming from the exertion as you bounced up and down on his cock. “Fuck, Shane! Fuck, baby, I’m coming!” At last the tightly wound spring in your pelvis broke loose and you cried out as waves of euphoria swept through you, your pulse thumping and your muscles aching in the best way.
As your pussy clenched and unclenched rapidly around him, Shane came right behind you with a hoarse cry of his own, his whole body going rigid for a moment or two as he rode out his release before he finally relaxed, sagging into the bed and gasping for air. When you trusted your rubbery legs to support you, you swept yourself up and off his hips, his softening and leaking cock slipping from you as you settled down at his side.
He wound an arm around your neck, tugging you closer for a lazy, sloppy kiss that you happily returned.
This was why you loved the rain.
Just something that always crosses my mind when it rains in Stardew Valley. Thought I’d share!
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