Anya woke with a ghost.
It lingered in her ears, an echo knocking around in her skull. Her hand was already underneath her pillow, touching warm metal, by the time her rational mind caught up to her instincts and her fast-beating heart. Nothing more than the dampened sound of bone on skin on wood–and, now, the sharp-edged hissing of a person listing every curse they knew and then some.
What had woken Anya from her sleep–and what made her sit up in bed now–was the fact that the apartment next to hers had been empty for the past three weeks. People–nine of them, two couples, one family, and an elderly woman–had come to tour it during those three weeks, but none of them had come back.
Out of habit she picked up the slim knife hidden in the flower vase on her living room table on her way to the front door. Anya was lightfooted, and her apartment was quiet: she could hear the careless knock-and-drop of boxes against wall and floor; rattling plates and tinny silverware; the arrhythmic lilt of someone talking into unresponsive air. Sounds she hadn’t heard since she helped her little sister move into an apartment downtown, though then there had been the soft scratch of ash dripping from between fingertips and landing snow-soft on the carpet at the perimeter of each room.
Anya carefully pocketed the knife and leaned half out of her door. No one in the hallway, but the lights in the apartment were on, and the entryway was littered with cardboard skeletons and crumpled mountains of tape crusted with paper, and in the softly lit hollow of the apartment was the lithe figure of a person.
Anya had always been taught to go out of her way not to sneak up on people unless she had to; so, being so well-mannered, she knocked on the doorframe and watched the person turn around.
A girl, maybe Anya’s height, maybe smaller. A shock of dark hair dominated her head and shoulders, curled curtain drawn back to bare brown shoulders and muscled arms. Eyes like hammered gold and teeth that, when she bared them in a forced smile, were bone-white and beautifully structured; she was lovely in a stark, bold way that made the hair on the back of Anya’s neck rise.
“Hey,” said the girl, slowly. Her voice rolled smooth and low; she furrowed her brows, tone reaching and delicate. “Are you….who are you, actually?”
Anya’s ears were red, first with a rush of something carnal and instinctive, and then with a second usurping wave of embarrassment. She knew better than to let herself be flustered. She shook herself back into focus and leaned against the doorframe, affecting casual. “I live next door, so I’m your neighbor, actually, assuming you’re” –she gestured at the mess of boxes– “assuming you’re moving in. I–sorry, this is a little weird. I’m Anya. Hi.”
The girl laughed–a joyful thing, teeth and the taut line of her neck–and stepped over a pile of boxes to approach Anya. Her gait was rolling, smoothed by an understated grace that flowed from the easy set of her shoulders and through the lines of her legs, relaxing in its steadiness. Anya’s heart beat hard. The girl extended her hand. Anya’s heart beat harder.
“Hi,” she said. The muscles in Anya’s arm trembled, begging her not to lift her hand, but she did, and slipped it willingly into the girl’s own. Her hand was strong, fingers caged at their bases with gold rings, one sitting below the third knuckle of her ring finger. They were warm; her skin was warmer. “I’m Yasha.”
As soon as she said it–Yasha, foreign-but-lovely in her mouth, slipped out like a word for which her own language had no translation–she knew. The eyes, the teeth, the false security in the deliberate control of her limbs; beneath the cool, there was a wildness to this girl, and each one of Anya’s instincts sung in perfect key–
Anya breathed in. Smiled. Said, “Nice to meet you.”
There were ways to test this sort of thing. Some were more subtle than others. Anya’s instincts were good, she knew that much; but her rationale was good too, and her mind was saying be careful. That left the middle path, which was: test the theory without getting caught.
That part was as easy as letting herself into the apartment of the woman who lived down the hall and was notorious for bringing new residents concerningly delightful baked goods, and giving the metal baking pan full of brownies a thin layer of silver dust. Not enough to do any serious damage, but enough that Anya would be able to see any reaction to it in the next day or so. She left the pan on the counter, swept any loose silver dust into the sink, washed it out, and slipped back into her own apartment before Ms. Weatherly was due to get home from picking her son up from school.
All that was left to do, then, was wait.
Yasha had been in and out all day. Each time she’d brought back something different: groceries at eleven, something from a hardware store at one, a set of speakers Anya hoped to God weren’t as loud as they looked just before two. At quarter ’til three, just on schedule, Ms. Weatherly and her son arrived, midway through a conversation about why exactly she wouldn’t let him eat nothing but chicken parmesan for a week. Jackson was a good kid, coming out the other side of a very mild rebellious phase; it was his job, a few minutes later, to run the brownies over to Yasha’s apartment.
Anya sat by the door. From there, close to the ground, she could hear footsteps, a cough, the careful lull between when Jackson knocked and when the door opened.
“Hey,” said Yasha. Half surprised, half sweet. Her tone was a little higher. Anya could imagine her smiling.
“Hi,” said Jackson, who sounded fittingly impressed. Unlikely that he could encounter that much white tooth and bright eye and be unfazed. “I’m Jackson. Me and my mom live down the hall. She made brownies.”
A rustle of aluminum foil; a hiss. “Oh,” Yasha breathed.
“They’re gluten free,” Jackson said, “just in case. But Mom can make them different next time if you want.”
“Thank you! This is so sweet. Tell your mom I really appreciate it, and I’ll give the pan back soon. What apartment are you in?”
“12C,” Jackson answered. Feet shuffling. “I have to get back home now, but I’ll let her know what you said.”
“Okay, thank you!”
More feet shuffling, soft and softer still. Down the hall, a door closed; and then, closer, another.
There was a moment of quiet.
There was the controlled sound of metal touching countertop.
And then there was a long, low, strained growl that rattled Anya’s teeth at the roots.
There, Anya thought. A thrill shot through her: satisfaction, adrenaline, an undeniable high note of fear. She had her proof: Yasha was a werewolf.
The ghost of that growl lingered in Anya’s ears. It hadn’t been predatory, no undercurrent of tooth or fang; it had been a frustrated, wounded thing, tinged with something that made Anya’s heart clench. She felt….
She shook her head. Wouldn’t let herself think it. She kept saying she wanted to be a bounty hunter, had snapped at her brother and her parents over it; she couldn’t back out of the first chance she had to prove that she was as serious as she’d said. As serious as she wanted everyone to believe.
Anya took a breath, grabbed her keys, and left to go into the office.
It had been more just to give herself something to do than anything, but going into the just-shy-of seedy office where what local bounty hunters there were used as home base had the unexpected side effect of bolstering some of Anya’s resolve. She’d had to puff up a little bit to ward off a condescending smile from one of them, an older, graying man who, despite the fact that Anya was sure his bones were dust held together by glue made primarily of spite, had still managed to bring in three werewolves and a malicious disembodied spirit that liked to disguise itself as minor household accidents within the past few months, and that had made her feel a little better. It was one thing to insist that she belonged here, and another entirely to prove it; even just getting Simon’s snarky little smile to waver had been enough to make Anya straighten up and decide to do what she needed to do to pull in her first bounty.
Running on freshly renewed confidence and a damn good gyro from the Greek place next door, Anya left for home—and nearly knocked Yasha down as she was leaving her apartment.
“Jesus,” said Anya, surprised, and reached out. It was reflexive, a steadying instinct she’d never been able to stamp out. Usually it was harmless—most people seemed even a little charmed by the tactility—but this time her hands met fingers wrapped in bandaids, and both Yasha and Anya recoiled at the same time.
Not enough to do any serious damage, but enough to blister. A bad taste rose in Anya’s mouth. She wanted to spit it out; knew she couldn’t; swallowed it instead.
“Ouch,” she made herself say. “What happened to your fingers?”
Yasha turned her hands over, wiggling her fingers demonstratively. “Oh, this?” She sucked her teeth, made an oh-silly-me face, and said, “I burned myself trying to make lunch today. Would you believe it?”
No, Anya thought, and swallowed that taste again. Her stomach turned, and, for lack of anything better to say, she asked, “I–did you end up eating? Lunch?”
Yasha blinked at her; cocked her head; blinked again. “Yeah, I did, although I’ll say it wasn’t my best work. Why?”
“I was just wondering if you’d want to get lunch with me?”
Yasha cocked her head. Anya froze.
Stupid, Anya thought. Her ears were burning. She’d just met Yasha yesterday, and she also hadn’t washed her hair since then, and–mind spinning for other things that could have possibly gone wrong, caught on: Yasha was a werewolf, hell. She couldn’t just have lunch with a werewolf; not only was it highly inadvisable by every law and strong suggestion, but it was also a mockery of the food chain, and, if she were seen by anyone she worked with, grounds for being fired, at the very least. She’d only been working as a bounty hunter for a few weeks, but she’d gotten the lay of the land quickly, and what she’d mapped out told her that fraternizing with the so-called enemy was not a good idea.
But—here Anya freewheeled, grasping blindly for justification–but it could turn into an opportunity, right? She could get a better idea of Yasha’s schedule, earn her trust, establish herself as a friend.
“Sure,” Yasha said after a moment. Her smile was late, a little hesitant at the edges. “If you want. Tomorrow?”
It was selfish, really; but the knot of guilt tied tight around Anya’s chest began to loosen, and she said, “Okay. Tomorrow.”
It turned out that the twenty-four hours between when Anya’s mouth got ahead of her brain and when she knocked on the door of Yasha’s apartment were good for several things. One of those things was research, since Anya had never encountered a werewolf outside of urban legends and friends-of-friends. Another was standard primping: Anya washed her hair, put on a fresh coat of red nail polish she didn’t expect to last the week, and managed to choose an outfit without destroying her closet. The process took longer than what Anya would usually allot for something as simple as lunch, but something—the memory of the warmth of Yasha’s hands, maybe, wild-hot but deceptively soothing—made Anya feel like she needed the extra layer of eyeliner.
The last thing Anya had time to do before she pinched her cheeks, grabbed her wallet, and headed out the door, was pick up a small vial of silver dust. She turned it over in her hand, listened to the hush of grains slipping over each other. The weight of it was a reminder that this wasn’t just some simple outing; it was a meeting with a werewolf, and one that she was currently intending to bring in as bounty.
Anya took a deep breath, slipped the vial into her pocket, and went to knock on Yasha’s door.
Anya liked to think of herself as flexible. Spontaneous, quick on her feet, easygoing enough to roll with most punches. None of those qualities, however, meant that she was prepared for Yasha.
It wasn’t like she was particularly dressed up or anything; she was just raw, alternating angles and unabashed softness, her presence immediate and inevitable. Low-rise jeans and a t-shirt made of something lightweight and yellow, bright against the brown of her skin; between belt and hem were the smooth muscles of her stomach, and beneath her shirt were the high twin curves of her breasts. No bra, no makeup beyond a layer of mascara, hair curling against her upper arms—she was beautiful, to put it simply, and Anya’s breath caught at the boldness of it.
“Hi,” said Yasha, casual as could be, like the way she cocked her hip and the curve of her waist weren’t going to make Anya’s face catch fire. “I figured I would let you pick where we go, since I don’t quite have the lay of the land yet.”
Anya thought, you could have the lay of me, and then checked herself hard. Werewolf, she thought, as firmly as she could, she’s a werewolf, and I’m going to get my first bounty, and she’s a werewolf.
She took a deep breath. “Yeah, I can do that. What are you in the mood for?”
Yasha’s smile curved across her mouth, full as the moon.
After an awkward pause wherein Anya very nearly excused herself to go home and change her panties, they decided on a sandwich place just down the block from their apartment building–or rather Anya rattled off a list of restaurants near the building, and Yasha did her the very kind favor of cutting her off after the seventh one, which just so happened to be a sandwich place. They managed to get a table and their meals without much further incident–beyond a one-sidedly tense moment wherein Anya’s idle hand brushed against Yasha’s thigh and she forced herself to derail any inappropriate thoughts that followed–and it wasn’t until halfway through her sandwich that Anya wiped at her mouth with her napkin and asked, “So, how’s the move-in going?”
“I like it here so far,” Yasha said, and licked one of her fingers. Her tongue was more red than pink, looked wet and petal-soft. Anya followed it up the length of her finger, watched her closer her lips around the tip of it, and squeezed her legs together under the table. “It’s not too different from where I used to live, and everyone seems nice enough. Though I will say that I wasn’t expecting a lunch date so soon after moving in. That was a little surprising.”
Anya’s ears went warm. “This isn’t—it’s not a date. I mean, I just thought we could go out for lunch, that’s all.”
Yasha cocked her head uncannily. Eyebrow raised, lips poised on the edge of a smile that said she didn’t believe anything Anya had to say from here on out, she said, “Oh?”
“I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love girls—” shit, shit, shit “—but I just didn’t assume this was, y’know a date.” On cue, her face flushed. Anya squeezed her eyes shut hard, took a sharp, deep breath, and said, “Ignore that. Ignore everything I just said, actually. Let’s—”
Start over, she’d meant to say, but Yasha laughed, throaty and clear as a bell, and said, “You’re funny. If this were a date, it wouldn’t be going so bad.”
A tangled apology caught in Anya’s throat. Across the table, Yasha was snickering, head lowered to bite at the straw in her drink. Her eyelashes were short, thick; the look she gave Anya from under them hit like a sucker punch to the gut. Anya went hot all over, tight in the chest with a raw, brash wanting that left no room in her to pretend otherwise.
“Um,” Anya said, tucking her hair behind her ears, “well, wow. Okay. I’m—I’m glad I’m not blowing this—hypothetically, of course—I’m going to eat now.”
Yasha bit into her sandwich. With her mouth half full and her eyes full of good humor, she said, “That sounds like a good idea.”
For a first date that wasn’t actually a first date, lunch had actually gone well. Once Anya had managed to recover enough to carry on a somewhat coherent conversation, they’d talked; about the city, about the weather, about anything Yasha wanted to know. Anya had given her basics of the gossip in their complex, and Yasha had coaxed out of her the top three most embarrassing encounters she’d had with any of the people who lived on their floor. Yasha told her about the job that had brought her here—assisting at an art gallery—and in turn Anya told her about her day job as a columnist for the local paper. They would have talked for hours, Anya was sure of it; but Yasha had glanced down at the bronze-faced watch on her wrist, clicked her tongue about the time, and paid for both of their meals before breezing out of the shop, leaving Anya with the tip and the memory of Yasha’s fingernails, blunt and gentle, dragging across her shoulder as she left.
Yasha was beautiful, she was clever, she was easy to talk to; and that was why Anya had to take her out as soon as possible.
It took a week of watching, waiting, and fretting for Anya to make that decision, and about ten seconds for her to throw planning to the wind and decide to wait for Yasha to come home and spring on her there. That Wednesday night, seven days after she’d sat across a rickety metal table from Yasha and laughed about poor catcalling attempts until she’d thought her drink was going to come out of her nose, Anya concealed a vial of wolfsbane and a silver knife on her person, donned black from head to toe, and sat down near her front door to wait for Yasha to leave her apartment.
It took a long half hour so soon as she heard Yasha moving toward her front door, she slunk outside, leaving her own door cracked behind her.
After a moment, the door opened.
There was wolfsbane in Anya’s pocket, there was silver in her boot, and there was Yasha in front of her, smiling, throat vulnerable and bare, head tilted back the fraction of an inch it took her to meet Anya’s eyes.
There was a confidence, a cockiness to the set of her chin that made Anya pause; and then, eyes glittering, Yasha leaned against the doorframe and asked, “Did you come over to tell me that you were a bounty hunter, or that you finally feel like confessing that you’ve been checking me out ever since I moved in?”
Fuck, she thought, coughing hard. It was half out of panic and half to stall; if she could come up with something good enough, she could make herself seem harmless, at least for long enough to get Yasha distracted. She was Anya’s height, and—judging by the cut of her stomach muscles and the solidness of her arms and the thickness of her thighs, where Anya lingered a moment too long, even in her distress—most likely strong, even with the moon at half-life and low in the sky, but Anya could take her.
Maybe, whispered her instincts, which were begging her to run. Or maybe not, chimed in the part of her that had gotten her so deep into this in the first place, the part that wound hot fingers around soft and intimate parts of her and stroked. Maybe you should give yourself up.
Anya was unduly tempted. As irrational as it was to think this, Yasha had been kind; and here they stood now, hunter and hunted, except Anya wasn’t sure who was who anymore. Would it be so bad, she wondered, to give herself up to the beast in herself, the beast in Yasha?
Say something, said the part of her brain that knew she was still in some amount of danger. Anya shook her head, took a breath, and said, “I’m not a bounty hunter.”
Carefully, she put her hand on her hip, close to the vial of wolfsbane. If she could just get it out—
Yasha laughed. Anya’s hand twitched. “I can hear your heartbeat, you know? It’s not like in movies or anything, but I can tell you’re lying. Plus you keep—doing that.”
Midway through the motion of tucking her hair behind her ear, Anya stopped. She scowled, pulled her fingers free of a tangle, and said, “I’m not lying.”
“Yes, you are,” said Yasha, and when Anya’s mouth tightened, she rolled her eyes and said, “Really? Okay, look. I can smell the metal on you when you carry knives. You’ve got at least one on you right now. And the way you sized me up when we met was not normal.”
Yasha’s finger was pressed against Anya’s lips before Anya had time to register that she’d even moved. She wanted to startle backwards—every instinct in her screamed to do it—but she held her ground, steadied by sheer determination and something she was sure was probably close to reckless abandon. Whatever it was that kept her there, it wasn’t rational, but it seemed to impress Yasha. “Hush,” she said, and tapped Anya’s lips. “You knew right away, didn’t you? The second we shook hands. You knew I was a werewolf.”
She said it so easily that for a moment Anya forgot werewolves were anything to be feared. And in the moment after that, Anya remembered; but the fear was gone.
“I did,” Anya confessed, and watched something so subtly tentative it had been unnoticeable leave the set of Yasha’s mouth. In her eyes, instead, was a question. What it was, though; Anya wasn’t sure. “So you got me. What now? Are you gonna—”
“Kill you?” Yasha laughed. “No. Eat you? Maybe.”
“What,” said Anya, blanking; and then it clicked, and a burst of heat lit up in her, and she said, “Oh.”
“If you’re up for it, that is,” Yasha said. She leaned against her doorframe, arms crossed beneath her breasts, and gave Anya a slow, raking once-over that felt just as intimate as a touch.
She could say no. Anya could say no, right now, and probably get the wolfsbane from her pocket before Yasha could pin her down and tear her throat out. She could say no, and listen to every instinct that was telling her the truth beating in her pulse was a lethal mistake. She could say no, and bring in her first bounty.
She could say no.
She said, “Yes.”
Yasha’s eyes went wide, and just as quickly narrowed. Sweetly predatory, now, all traces of doubt gone; she smiled that wide lovely smile and dropped her hand to the collar of Anya’s shirt. It was high, but Yasha hooked her fingers into it, and her nails brushed the soft hollow of Anya’s throat, and Anya couldn’t do anything but let Yasha pull her into her apartment.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” said Yasha, and tugged her toward her couch. Her living room looked the same as Anya’s, but messier, homier, a carelessly constructed space that seemed to breathe as much as did Anya or Yasha. Yasha sat down on top of a bright orange throw pillow with yellow tassels and pulled Anya down onto a matching one in a sickly shade of green. The couch itself was a gentle russet red, soft and spacious, with a divot in the center that looked just large enough for someone—or something—to curl up into and sleep. Anya swallowed. “Stop looking like I’m going to actually eat you.”
“I’m not convinced you won’t,” Anya deadpanned. She was shooting for humor, but there was some truth in it; her nerves were singing, clamoring to be obeyed, and every breath she took in this apartment was in direct defiance of them. “I’d be pretty irritated if I found out my neighbor was trying to turn me in for money.”
Yasha put her hand on Anya’s knee. Her touch was warm, and her voice was laced with a gentleness, a patience, of which Anya wouldn’t have thought her capable in all her brashness. “I wasn’t ever really worried,” she said lightly, and grinned when Anya frowned. “It’s not that you’re bad at what you do,” Yasha added, sliding her hand up Anya’s thigh. “You just need a little bit of…teeth. ”
She bared hers, white against dusky lips, and Anya swallowed hard. Yasha was beautiful, starkly and boldly, and it was—
“Are you sure,” said Anya, looking at the sharp line of Yasha’s jaw, the fullness of her lips, her collarbone, “that you want—”
More laughing than speaking, Yasha said, “Yes. Is that what you’re so hung up on?”
“Well, yeah,” Anya said; and then remembered Yasha was a werewolf, and said, “Wait, no. I mean—like, yes? You’re a werewolf, but you’re still kinda…out of my league, so to speak.”
Her ears were red, and her eyes were fixed steadily on the stretch of wall above Yasha’s head. It was a truth she hadn’t realized she was hiding until she’d said it. Yasha was lethal, to be sure, every inch of her and everything she did screamed it; but there was still the aspect of her that was human, and the aspect of Anya that was the same, and something like this still seemed too good to be true.
“Unbelievable,” Yasha said, shaking her head in Anya’s periphery; and then she curled her fingers into the dark hair falling past Anya’s ears, pulled her close, and kissed her soundly on the mouth.
Soft lips; sharp teeth; bold tongue, sliding across Anya’s lower lip like Yasha wanted to get a taste of her. Dimly, Anya thought that wasn’t far from the truth; but then Yasha kissed her again, took Anya’s bottom lip between hers and wrapped her up in the heat of it, and then Anya’s higher order thinking shorted out. Instinctively she found Yasha’s wrist and clasped it, leaning into her pressure; her other hand found Yasha’s knee and rested there, running her thumb over the bend and curve of muscle under her fingers. Yasha smiled against her mouth, teeth slick when Anya kissed them unthinkingly, and said, “Now that’s more like it.”
“You’re not my first rodeo,” Anya muttered, nipping at Yasha’s mouth. Her teeth were nowhere near as sharp nor as deadly, but Yasha still gasped when Anya sunk them into her lower lip. “I know what I’m doing.”
“Oh, yeah?” Yasha asked, eyes bright. She threw herself backwards, arms above her head, belly bared, making an artful mess of herself without seeming to try at all. Like that, hair haloed around her, all her soft places bared, she was irresistible, and Anya didn’t want to put up a fight.
She took the opening she’d been given and leaned forward so she could brace herself over Yasha. Underneath her, Yasha was coy, head angled so she could give Anya the benefit of a self-satisfied smirk and her amber eyes, breasts pushed up against the material of her shirt as she arched her back. She was braless, again, and Anya could see her nipples through her shirt; she let her hand trace the shape of Yasha’s waist and ribcage, longing, not yet bold. Anya lingered there, mesmerized by the curve of it, until Yasha took her by the wrist and drew her hand upwards, pressing the heel of it gently against the curve of her breast.
“Show me, then,” said Yasha, and leaned up to give Anya her mouth.
Anya kissed her back into the heap of throw pillows, eager mouth and eager hands; she slid her hand up the fraction it took to cup Yasha’s breast, ran her thumb over Yasha’s nipple, did it again in slow circles until Yasha bit at her bottom lip and made an impatient noise that Anya took as less of a question and more of an order. Anya drew her nipple between her fingers then, and teased at it until Yasha bit her again—this time harder, a warning, accompanied by fingers digging into the thin skin over the bones of her hips.
“Pushy,” Anya said, grinning, and moved to the crook of Yasha’s neck before she could bite her again for smart remarks.
Here, at the soft junction of neck and shoulder, she was careful; here, Anya was acutely aware of who and what she was dealing with. Yasha lay still, fingers still anchored on Anya’s hips, but her muscles were tense and her pulse was fluttering and she was staring up at Anya, eyes wide with a kind of forced blankness that came from nothing less than pure and total concentration.
“It’s okay,” Anya said, compelled to soothe, and dropped a kiss on Yasha’s shoulder. She left another, open-mouthed, higher up, closer to the vulnerable skin of Yasha’s throat. “I’m not—I know you know I won’t hurt you, but.”
“Make me feel good, then.” Yasha clasped the back of Anya’s neck with one hand and pulled her closer, pressed Anya’s open mouth to the bare, fluttering hollow of her throat. “Either way, don’t play gentle with me.”
“Have it your way,” Anya said, and bit down there, sinking her teeth into that intimate place that made Yasha tremble and still at the same time. Yasha’s eyes were wild, uncanny ageless amber, and every line of her was tense with the effort to keep herself in place. Something about it was inherently satisfying. Maybe it was the thrill of being in such close proximity to someone who could turn on her in the blink of an eye; maybe it was the taboo of being atop a predator, the domination, the farce of it. Either way, Anya was wet already, running hot and getting hotter every time Yasha let slip a shaky breath and loosened up, squirming to give Anya better access to her neck. That—the yielding, the unspoken but unmistakable admission of desire–that was what Anya wanted, and it drove her wild to have it; she moaned against Yasha’s skin, rocked her hips forward blindly and found purchase against the length of Yasha’s thigh, drawn up between Anya’s legs. How juvenile it was, how purely sixteen Anya felt all over again—but she did it again, a rough grind made rougher by layers of fabric, and felt Yasha arch upwards in response.
“Fuck,” Anya breathed, drawing away just enough that she could see Yasha’s face, the thin sheen of sweat layering it, the way she smiled when Anya said, “I feel like a teenager again.”
Grinning, Yasha reached between them to unbutton Anya’s jeans. “Oh, do you,” she murmured, and pushed at them.
Eager, Anya undid her jeans and shoved them down her legs far enough that she could get Yasha’s thigh between hers again. Now she could rock against Yasha’s leg without the infuriating denim barrier, and she did, hard; each roll of her hips was met with a responding surge from Yasha and left Anya gasping, forehead pressed against the braiding of the throw pillow beneath Yasha’s shoulder and mouth open against the damp skin at the crook of Yasha’s neck, grasping at the couch, at Yasha, at anything that could keep her anchored.
“Definitely,” she half-said, half-moaned, just under Yasha’s ear. It wasn’t exactly what Anya wanted—she wanted skin on skin, wanted Yasha’s hands on her body, fingers on her clit, pushing into her easy and slick and slow until she came—but she was hot and she was wet and she was near frantic with desire, with the need to touch and be touched and to come, and this was good enough. More so, even, when Yasha tugged Anya’s shirt up to her shoulders, smoothing her hands over Anya’s breasts before mouthing at both nipples in turn through the thin lace of her bra. Lips first, soft and careful yet insistent; and then Yasha grazed them with her teeth, each motion heavy with care, and Anya gripped the couch cushion so hard she could feel her knuckles protesting. Yasha had clearly noticed, because she let out a raspy little laugh against the skin between Anya’s breasts and leaned up to mouth at Anya’s neck.
If Anya could have stopped the rhythm of her hips to marvel at what was going on, she would have; as it was, she could only sigh out a small, awed oh and let each sensation come to her as it did: the thrill of Yasha’s mouth on her neck, the pleasure that shivered through her when she rocked against Yasha’s thigh, the rhythm of those feelings alternating, the heat and the need that mounted in her, each movement kindling to a fire, each moan of Yasha’s like sparks—
And then Yasha bit down at the softest part of Anya’s throat, teeth deadly-sharp but gentle enough to do no more than bruise; and Anya slid against Yasha’s leg once more, and caught fire.
When she came down from the first few blackout seconds of her orgasm, she found herself lying atop Yasha, ass mostly in the air, a sticky sweaty mess with an armful of werewolf laughing beneath her.
Sorry, Anya wanted to say, but her voice rasped and wouldn’t catch. She cleared her throat, tried again, and managed: “Sorry.”
Yasha barked out a particularly amused laugh. “I’m not,” she said, and reached around to palm Anya’s ass like she had a right to it. After an orgasm like that, she very well did, and Anya let her. “I’m more impressed than anything. I’ve never gotten off just by grinding.”
“Oh, really? You should try it. Definitely takes you back to the glory days.” Breathing quick, Anya rolled over to wedge herself between Yasha and the back of the couch. Color high, eyes bright, Yasha turned to look at her. “What do you want to do now?”
“Everyone in this complex is going to put a bounty on my head for the things I’m going to do to you,” she said, and rolled on top of Anya.
Anya laughed, spread her legs to make room for Yasha between them, and said, “I hope your bark’s as big as your bite.”