Brynjolf reviewed the weeks reports of how much gold they had added to the coffers as well as how many job requests they had gotten in. Slowly their presence was being felt again, but not enough. The war was taking a toll on everyone, jobs were scarce and the need for their services weren’t as in much demand as the demand for mercenaries were. He picked up the stack of messages from his operatives and began reading through them. He was pleased to see that some of them who had stepped away from the Guild were now willing to work with them again; it seems that many of the operatives had been taken advantage of by Mercer and tried to distance themselves from him.
After some time, he sat back in the chair, his gaze resting on the bed that at one time Meliandra would sleep in. His thoughts went to the last time she was here and how what had started out as steps forward in fixing their relationship ended up blowing up before his eyes. He had obviously misread her jovial mood that day that had made him believe that she was ready to talk and when he went to apologize again in the morning he had discovered that she had left sometime during the night.
He was beginning to understand now more than ever what it meant to not know what you’ve got until its gone. The feelings he felt for her were so intense and her absence from his life created such a void the likes of which he had never experienced in his life before. He thought of the conversation he had had with Vekel the other day and how the bartender smiled at him, a look of knowing touching his eyes as he shook his head telling the second in charge that he had fallen in love with the Breton. He knew the man was right. But had he lost his one opportunity to be truly happy?
He noticed the courier making his way from the Flagon entrance toward him. He recognized the boy as one employed by Niranye in Windhelm to ferret sensitive messages to the Guild and immediately became concerned. He sat up as the boy approached him; an icy finger of fear traced down his spine for a reason unknown to him. “Gaelock,” he said as the young Altmer came closer. “Everything alright? We usually don’t see you around here.”
The boy shook his head as he reached into his satchel and pulled out the sealed message from his employer. “Niranye says this is urgent and for your eyes only.”
Brynjolf’s eyebrow rose as he accepted the letter. He opened it and began to read, sitting straighter in his chair as he did so. He let the paper fall to the desk once he finished and ran his hand through his hair. “Shor’s Balls,” he swore. He reached into the jar to the side, took out some gold and handed it to the young man. “Tell Niranye thank you. And make sure some of that gets to her, too.”
Gaelock nodded and smiled, “Of course.” Then he turned and headed back into the Flagon.
“Shit,” Brynjolf swore under his breath, his thoughts returning to the message from the Altmer thief. Meliandra had been seen getting arrested by Windhelm guards led by the jarl’s right-hand man. He had remembered Delvin saying that a job had come in for Windhelm to be hit. He immediately knew that it was Meli who took the job.
The Guild’s policy was to leave a captured thief be when and if one got caught. But he would be damned if he was going to leave the Guild Master locked up and he began to form a rescue plan using Cynric’s jailbreaking skills.
She took a deep breath as she stepped into the Bee & Barb, the familiar aroma of fish cooking in the kitchen with a hint of saltiness in the air wafting through her nostrils, eliciting a slight rumble of hunger from her stomach. She approached the bar where the Argonian innkeeper was busy serving the Snow-Shod son. She noticed that Sapphire wasn’t in her usual spot near the door, scouting for possible marks so she could lighten their pockets. She stood at the bar and cleared her throat, bringing the woman’s attention to her.
“Oh,” the Argonian said sourly, “it’s you. Here to extort more gold from me?”
Meliandra narrowed her eyes as she responded, “Don’t tempt me, Keevara. The Guild’s under new rules, new management. I’m sure the new Guild Master would be more than willing to add some new fees to your monthly contribution to the betterment of our fair city.”
The Argonian snorted. “New management? Who would be psychotic enough to want to be the boss of your motley crew of thieves?”
The Breton leaned onto the counter and smiled at her. “Me. Now, shall we continue?”
The inn-keeper swallowed nervously before shaking her head. “I was just joking, Meliandra. What can I do for you?”
The Guild Master set a stack of gold on the counter. “A room with privacy and absolutely no disturbances.”
The Argonian slid the coins off the counter quickly, her claws slightly scratching the wood. She nodded, saying, “Of course. If you’ll follow me, I’ll show you to your room.”
The trio followed her upstairs and into a room far off to the back. Once they were alone amongst themselves, they began to settle in for the day. Vorstag and Lydia were going to be going to the market and sell what junk they had while replenishing their supplies and have Balimund make any repairs needed to their armor and weapons. In the meantime, Meliandra would be going down to handle business with the Thieves Guild.
The sun was beginning its descent past the horizon by the time Meliandra emerged from the inn. She saw Modesi at his stall, just starting to close up shop for the night. She walked over to him, delivering the chunk of gold ore he was looking for for an authentic Saxhleel piece of jewelry he was making. After paying her generously for her help, she made her way to the Riften graveyard. She absently noted the Shrine of Talos and thought about the stories of Tiber Septim she had read as a teen. Once again, she remembered the feeling of the dragon soul coming over her, laying claim to her. She could not fathom that she of all people could possibly be Dragonborn. She shook her head as she opened the entrance to the Guild.
She entered the Cistern to see Delvin, Sapphire, Cynric, Vex and Brynjolf huddled around the desk, talking quietly amongst themselves. She couldn’t make out what they were talking about but it seemed urgent. The closer she got, the more visible Brynjolf’s face was and she could see concern written all over it.
Vex looked up and upon seeing her, smiled. She nudged Brynjolf and pointed out the Guild Master to him. His eyes went from irritated to surprise to happy as he got up from his chair and walked toward her. He caught himself before drawing her into a hug. “Meli,” he said, relief riding on his voice. “We heard you’d been arrested.”
“I was,” she answered back. She placed the stolen signet ring in front of Delvin. “But I had a job to do.”
Delvin picked up the ring, letting out a whistle. “Well, look at this little beauty,” he said in admiration. “This is Ulfric’s?”
The Breton smirked. “It is indeed.” She shrugged nonchalantly. “You said something that would make them know it was us. I think that fits the bill.”
Delvin smiled broadly, chuckling. “Good work, boss. I’ll get you your coin by the end of the night.”
“No rush, Delvin.” She took her seat and began to inquire as to the state of the Guild. For the next couple hours, she listened to what her people reported to her and how the Guild was slowly regaining their foothold. She listened intently and watched carefully at everyone’s interactions, how smoothly they all worked together. Slowly, one by one, they left to retire for the night leaving only her and Brynjolf.
She stood, yawning. “I need to get some sleep; it’s been a long couple of days.”
Brynjolf stood, nodding. “I’ll walk with you to your room.”
She sighed but nodded back at him. “Things seem to be looking up,” she said casually as they made their way out of the Cistern.
He nodded. “Everyone saw the sacrifice that you made to expose Mercer. They have a new outlook on their jobs. You’ve made them strive to be better, lass.”
A sad laugh came from her. “I hate to break it to you, Bryn, but I had ulterior motives for wanting to kill Mercer, let alone bring him down.”
He looked over at her; the whisper of sorrow in her voice shouted at him. She walked into the room that the Guild had decided to make quarters strictly for the Guild Master and turned to face him. “What I shared with Mercer was strictly a satisfaction of our mutual carnal desires, nothing more.” She sighed. “I had no illusions about any kind of meaningful relationship with him.” She shifted her eyes slightly away from him. “The last time I thought I had one of those I ended up being hurt.”
Brynjolf felt the verbal slap and closed his eyes, knowing she meant him. He opened his eyes again and looked at her, his eyes soft as he gazed at her. “Lass, I’m sorry. I really am. I don’t know how I can make it up to you.”
She shook her head. “You know, Bryn, right now I don’t even want to think about any of that, alright? I’ve got a lot more on my plate than dealing with you and I.” She ran her hand through her ebony hair, sighing. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be taking it out on you.”
“Is there anything I can do to help you? Or the Guild?”
She shook her head. Her voice was flat as she answered, “No, I need to handle this myself, Bryn.”
“Meli, we can help you- “
“Damn it, Bryn!” she snapped. “I don’t want nor need your damn help! Why must you patronize me, acting like you care about me?”
“Acting like I care?” he snapped back. “Are you fucking serious, Meliandra?” He shook his head. “Here I’ve been worried about you ever since I received word that you had been arrested, but no, I don’t fucking care about you!”
“Worried?” she repeated sarcastically. “That’s not what it looked like to me when I walked in. In fact, you and Vex looked rather cozy sitting next to each other. Hell, she even smiled at me, like she was gloating that she drove us apart.”
“Oh for fucks sake!” he cried out in exasperation. “What in Oblivion do you fucking think we were doing when you walked in? Having a tea party?” He stared at her, his anger quickly rising. “Shor’s Balls, Meli. We were planning on how to break you out of jail!” He turned to walk out, stopped, turned and walked back to her. His eyes burned hot with anger, the words, acid upon his tongue. “Just how did you manage to get out of there with the jarl’s signet ring? Wait, don’t tell me.” His eyes narrowed as he spat his next words out. “You fucked Ulfric for your freedom.”
Her eyes went wide, mirroring the anger that raged in his. She brought her hand across his face, hard. “How dare you!” She raised her hand, posed to strike him again.
He caught her hand mere inches from his face. “How dare I?” He snarled at her. “You’re no better than a whore, Meliandra. You’ll spread your legs for anyone if it benefits you.”
Her eyes narrowed. “You didn’t seem to have a problem with that when you were fucking me,” she snapped as she pulled her hand out of his grip. “What’s wrong, Bryn? Vex not giving it up anymore?”
Suddenly, with no warning, he grabbed her and pulled her to him, crushing his lips with hers, his tongue forced its way into her mouth and demanded ownership of it. His grip around her was strong, holding her in his arms firmly as he gave into the overwhelming need to feel her in his arms, to kiss her with abandon like he had once done. Breaking the kiss, he breathed heavily, “I don’t want Vex. I want you.”
“You lost that chance, Brynjolf.” She noticed that her voice was not as strong and forceful as she had intended it to be, but rather it was weak as she tried to reclaim the breath that he had just taken from her.
“I don’t think I did, lass,” he said as he kissed her again.
She tried to pull back, her hands finding their way to his chest, pushing at him as his kiss consumed her. She tried to fight, not him, but her own desire to give in to his very touch. Despite herself she found that she was returning his kiss with as much fervor and determination that he was giving. Her hands went from pushing on him to frantically loosening his tunic and running her fingers down his bare skin, leaving red marks where her nails pressed into him. “You’re a lying cheat,” she breathed at one point, kissing him again as his fingers worked the ties free on her clothing and quickly removed them from her body.
“And you’re a slut,” be breathed against her skin, his lips tracing their way down her neck and onto her shoulder.
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.” She tilted her head back, her hands finding their way through his hair, guiding him to her now naked breasts. She gasped in pleasure as he took her breast in his mouth, his tongue flicking across her nipple before he did the same to the other.
“You are a bad girl that does bad things, Meliandra.” His voice grew heavy with lust as he lifted her into his arms and carried her to her bed. He laid her upon it, then, keeping to his knees, he climbed upon the bed, staying at the foot of it. He stared at her before him as he removed his pants, his erection hard and throbbing. “Did you enjoy fucking the Battle-Born son?” he asked as he slipped two fingers into her and began playing with her. “What about that barmaid? Did you enjoy having a woman do this to you?” His fingers thrust faster and harder in her; his excitement was building.
“Yes,” she panted, “I liked her fucking me.”
“What about the Battle-Born kid?” he fingered her faster still; she was dripping wet now. “Did you like fucking him?”
She looked at him. “No,” she admitted. “I didn’t. I hated it.” She moaned and writhed against his hand then looked back at him. “Please fuck me, Brynjolf, just fuck me.”
He smiled as he withdrew his fingers and positioned himself above her. He stared at her as he asked, “Fuck you? You really want me to fuck you?” She nodded emphatically. He stared at her for a moment longer then leaned forward, resting the tip of his shaft against her slit. “This is what you want?”
“Yes!” she cried out. “Please!”
He gave a hard thrust, slamming his entire length into her, causing her to cry out. His thrusts were frantic; she clawed at his chest, drawing blood. He was losing his control; she was crying out her quickly impending orgasm. He thrust again, harder; her juices flowed as if a dam had burst forth, sending her body into spasms as she climaxed. Brynjolf felt the flooding from her pooling around him and soon his own body went rigid as his cum exploded into her womb, filing her with his seed. He collapsed next to her; his breathing accelerated but starting to return to normal.
She laid beside him, his arm wrapped around her and she remembered how secure that had always made her. She closed her eyes and let herself enjoy the moment.
Brynjolf held her, tracing her skin with his fingers. He had not realized how much he missed the feel of her body against his, how they seemed to fit together perfectly. He did not want this moment to end for in the here and now his world was perfect. He had his Breton in his arms again. That’s the only thing that mattered to him.
As he kissed the top of her head he whispered, “I love you, Meli.”