dalishstorm: (Default)
Original prompt: May I please have some Zevran/M!Dalish? H/C about the whole Taliesen-Rinna mess, pre- or post-Taliesen encounter, something dealing with Zevran's deathseeking tendencies?
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Those left behind stayed out of his way when Zevran returned to Eamon's estate. For a while he drifted aimless through the halls, angry and anxious, unable to settle the matter in his heart. He knew who would win, and it frightened him. The longer he spent with Vanastin, the more he understood that circumstances had twisted the man into someone the Crows would be proud to call their own. Zevran still couldn't tell if Vanastin's bouts of kindness and apparent special treatment of Zevran were manipulations or genuine. Either case worried him. Was it worse to be used by a cruel man or to have him truly fond of you? Sometimes, it was Taliesen all over again.

Vanastin would never have slit Rinna's throat.

At length he changed into plainclothes, too jittery for the confines of hard leather, and settled in the library. It seemed the least likely place for any of the others, since the girls were with Vanastin, and Zevran could hardly imagine any of the others taking a sudden interest in the Arl's library. He wanted desperately to be elsewhere, relieving his frustrations, but getting into trouble before the Landsmeet would surely earn Vanastin's ire, and be a generally bad idea.

He could still run. He could do it right now, in fact. With few material possessions of any value, he could easily pick up and leave in a matter of perhaps an hour. He would be free of Taliesen, free of the Crows for a while, free of Vanastin. It would be only himself and his despair, the ghost of Rinna. He could seek death again with no reservations.

With a groan Zevran settled his head into his hands, grinding the heels of his palms against his closed eyes. That man made him want to live, for those glimpses of the person who came before the Warden, the Dalish hunter who'd died from the taint with his lover, so Vanastin claimed. Such melodramatic declarations made Zevran laugh, but he understood that darkness too well. He himself had wanted death, still craved the release of nothingness like one might the soft caresses and sweet murmurs of a lover, if only to end this confusion. But where Zevran sought oblivion to silence his ghosts, Vanastin rolled like a fire across the Blighted countryside, dispensing violence even in his peacemaking, harsh with allies and vehement with enemies.

Zevran sat up abruptly, staring into the middle-distance as the light of day waned. A servant brought in a lit lantern, sat it silently on the table before him, and left unobtrusively. So now Zevran focused on the flaming wick. That was exactly it. The Warden was like a wildfire raging across Ferelden, burning everything in his path as fuel to stop the Blight. His desire to stop the Blight was the only thing Zevran knew to be genuine, and it had taken some time to reason out, but now his time spent with the Warden all seemed to fit together as lost scraps of a painting rent asunder.

Firstly, never again. The Warden wanted no one else to suffer what he and his lover had suffered. Secondly, there will be nothing left. A wildfire consumes itself once all fuel is gone, after all, dies out in pathetic fashion, suffocating under its own nature. Vanastin had twisted himself into this thing on purpose, made himself a weapon, made himself a martyr no one would miss. Ending the Blight could destroy him and no one would care but a misfit handful of near-strangers, as no one could ever love the truth of Vanastin as a hero.

They sought the same thing, if by different ends. Zevran had meant to go out in a blaze of glory, and Vanastin meant to choke on his own hate.

It made the minutes and hours to Vanastin's return even more nerve wracking. Zevran had to tell him now, had to let Vanastin know that he was not alone in this.

He heard Wynne's voice from the entry hall, then Vanastin's low rumble in response. They stopped while Morrigan and Leliana moved on, and the conversation didn't end in an argument, for once. Zevran could scarcely imagine what the two might not tear at each other's throats over, never mind come to terms on, and could only assume it meant Vanastin was in a good mood.

Surely he knew what Taliesen meant to Zevran. Had he taken pleasure in tearing apart Zevran's former lover? On eradicating that last real tie to the Crows so he could claim Zevran for his own? Zevran could almost imagine Vanastin reveling in the blood, something he'd only seen amongst the most depraved of Crows. His rational mind, the part that wasn't currently occupied with trying to come up with reasons to push Vanastin away and be disgusted by their growing emotions for each other, disagreed. Vanastin understood, better than anyone, what it was to lose a lover to fear and carelessness. No, he would surely have treated Taliesen with more respect than the Crow deserved.

When Vanastin left the entry hall Zevran had to strain to hear his footsteps, silent as an owl's wing. He remained where he was for a few moments to collect his thoughts. As such, Vanastin found him, the Dalish Warden cracking a door open and peering in, obviously looking for him. “Here I am, my dear Warden.” He had no quips for this. Vanastin stepped in, closing the door behind him, and Zevran smiled softly. They thought too similarly, for Vanastin's first action had been to change into the plainclothes Leliana had insisted he buy instead of going about in armor and padding constantly in the city, plain green tunic and brown trousers in linen, muted forest colors that stood out among the City Elves almost as starkly as his heavy tattoos. Crossing to him, the other elf ignored any chairs at the table where Zevran sat and instead leaned against the table's edge. Zevran wanted to tease him about an aversion to furniture, about his savage nature, but simply couldn't bring himself to.

“Are you alright?” startled him, the last thing he expected to hear in that gravelly voice being the first. “He was important to you, wasn't he?”

“Taliesen is dead, then.” Zevran wasn't sure what to feel. The man had been his only true ally for so long, but his eager disposal of Rinna still ached.

“You should've stayed,” Vanastin said.

Forcing a grim smile, Zevran explained. “Believe it or not, despite my feelings about the Crows in general I had no argument with Taliesen in specific. He was a good friend whose only fault lie in his priorities. I had no wish to fight him, and truly I would have preferred he not come after us at all. But what is done is done.”

Vanastin let him ramble, leaning back against the table's edge a little further, gripping the side as if to still his hands. “To deliver the final blow,” Vanastin eventually said. “That should've been your right, not mine. He was more than a friend, wasn't he?”

“There is no need to relive the past,” Zevran said. “That is all behind me now.” Whether I want it to be or not. Would Taliesen have been the same person free of the Crows? Did he somehow not deserve the same chance Zevran had been given?

Vanastin almost said something, lips parting to speak, and then thought better of it, hands reflexively tightening in their grip on the table. He looked away, down and to one side, and Zevran studied him for a moment, as he often did in silence. This man is more dangerous than Taliesen could ever have aspired to be. After an uncomfortably long moment of this Vanastin made a swift motion, drew the little sickle-bladed dagger from wherever he kept it, and offered it hilt first. “I took his heart's blood with this. It was quick, I'm sure he didn't suffer. You should have it.”

 

Zevran stared at the blade, clean and glinting in the lamp's faint light, tried to imagine the blood. He tore his eyes away from it, the image of Vanastin slitting a helpless Taliesen's throat overlaying the image of Taliesen doing the same to a tearful, terrified and heartbroken Rinna. Zevran had been the true betrayer, to both of them, and surely he would do the same to Vanastin some day. “That was given to you when you took on your vallaslin, yes? I could not possibly accept such a weighty gift.”

“You know I hate knife work,” Vanastin said, a little more of the usual agitation slipping into his voice. “I hunt so little now I hardly need it as a tool. And I want no trophies. This should have been your kill, and I would relinquish it to you if you'll let me.”

“Washing your hands of it?” Zevran asked. “Guilt does not suit you, my Grey Warden.”

A thin trickle of blood slid down the knife when Vanastin's hand tightened over the blade, and the lines around his eyes tightened. His entire posture shifted, muscles tight and coiled, as if a cat about to pounce. “Tamlen gave me this,” Vanastin said, voice dark and toneless. “It has taken two precious lives in the past year. They are bound to it, in a way, by the mercy it exacted. Do you understand?

He did, and it was just as terrible. “I say to you again, I cannot accept such a weighty gift.”

Please,” Vanastin said. “I'll beg if I must.”

“We can't have the mighty Grey Warden so debased, can we? I will accept it, then.” And Zevran took the knife from him, inspecting the blade and its rivulet of blood. It was not nearly so curved as it seemed in Vanastin's quick hands, nor as delicate, but it was clearly meant for hunting, for slitting throats and gutting. It seemed appropriate, somehow. And it would be appropriate to die on the same blade Taliesen had, wouldn't it? One from the Warden's own hand, even, neatly completing Rinna's posthumous revenge.

Another awkward moment of melancholy silence passed, Vanastin clenching his right hand into a tight fist around the thin cut in his palm, neither of them looking at each other. Zevran had started out thinking he'd seek an understanding with Vanastin, but this....

“I suppose it would be possible for me to leave, now, if I wished,” Zevran finally said, the words welling up almost of their own volition. “ The Crows will assume that I am dead with Taliesen. So long as I do not make my presence known, they will not seek me out.”

“Where would you go?” Toneless as before, but the Warden's voice sounded more hollow now.

Shrugging, Zevran looked up at him, said, “I do not know. I have never had this much freedom before. I confess, I do not have the slightest idea where to start.”

“Would you stay?” Vanastin's voice grew quiet, and he dared no more than a glance, almost as if afraid.

The sentiment amused Zevran, brought a little life back into his tone, a smile tugging at his lips. “Until the Archdemon is defeated? I suppose saving the world is a noble enough cause.” Vanastin nodded, swallowed harshly—he was normally so guarded in everything but anger. And Zevran was beginning to understand Vanastin a little better—finer details in the portrait. He will understand.

So it all came spilling out: Rinna and her death, the Crows' careless dismissal, taking the contract as suicide. Vanastin met his eyes, and listened intently, blankly, no judgment there. Zevran perhaps expected a sneer at his weakness, at his naivete in assuming either of them meant anything to the Crows, but he got no such reaction. He was practically shaking with relief over having the story out and tense anticipation of Vanastin's response by the time he said, “And then... this happened. And here I am.”

The usual intensity returned to Vanastin's dark eyes while listening, the surety to his posture and his voice when he asked, “Do you still want to die?”

Shocked, Zevran sat up a little more properly. He hadn't thought about it very hard, not since the initial decision to take the contract, seeing his path to certain oblivion in a pair of stray Grey Wardens. He was equally shocked by the answer he found, how quickly he came up with it. “No. What I want is to begin again.”

 

“I wanted to die,” Vanastin began, “rather than leave my clan behind, rather than leaving Tamlen to his fate. I was too heartbroken to do anything but follow Duncan, though, as he was the only person to offer me any direction. I thought that I would surely find death as a Warden. I was elated when I found out that the Joining itself can kill. I prayed to the Creators for oblivion when I took my Joining. When I woke in the Wilds after Ostagar, I hated Flemeth, hated our betrayers, hated everyone--they had robbed me of my quickest route to destruction. There is no honor in falling on your sword, so I needed to fall in battle, or by some other means, but I knew that Alistair stood no chance alone between the Blight and human wars. And no one else should have to endure this. I meant to rage across Ferelden and destroy the Archdemon as quickly as possible, so I could seek my release sooner rather than later.” He took a deep breath, deliberate, clearly meant to be calming, and pushed away from the table to stand properly. “Then you happened.” Vanastin paused, as if looking for a response, but not long enough for Zevran to form one. “You give me hope that life might still have some worth after defeating the Archdemon. You make me want to live, and you make me regret what I've become. You deserve more than I can offer, now.”

All that intensity remained, but only a thin sliver of the hardness. Vanastin had relaxed while speaking, slouching ever so slightly, canting his hips just a little as he shifted more weight onto one leg. His voice remained dark, but a little of the gravel left it, all rage fled. This was not the Warden, but the hunter Vanastin kept so deeply buried, the man Zevran wanted to know, seen only in beautiful but fleeting glimpses, like an animal through the bars of a cage. An invitation, an open hand offered—Zevran could return with like. “Whatever I was looking for when I left Antiva, I think I have found it.”

“You helped me, after Tamlen. Kept my mind off it. Let me do the same for you.”

Chuckling, Zevran responded, “If you are proposing what I think you are, how could I ever say no?”

Vanastin grabbed up two of the unoccupied chairs and wedged them at the library's doors, to prevent any unwanted intrusion, and as he stalked back Zevran began to stand. With a hand against his chest Vanastin stilled him. “Stay.” Zevran sat back down, and Vanastin crawled up into the chair with him, straddling his lap, leaned forward to kiss up one side of his jaw to the base of his ear, tugged on the earring briefly before continuing. On the other side of Zevran's head Vanastin made that strange, affectionate gesture, running his fingers up the bottom of the ear there and then into Zevran's hair, touch almost delicate... it still made Zevran shudder, and not at the dichotomy this time, the threat of violence in the Warden's every gesture, which had fled for tenderness and desire.

Zevran tried echoing the gesture, and got a low sound of approval out of Vanastin, but Zevran continued the motion, removed the tie that held back Vanastin's chestnut hair. He'd seen it loose before, usually wet, but never had the opportunity to run his fingers through it. It was not fine and silky, or even especially well cared for, but it was soft and smelled of misty woods in spring, promises of growth in the soil, appropriate metaphors for the Vanastin Zevran saw now.

Vanastin started working his way down with lips and hands, searching under Zevran's collar for any flesh he could easily reach, and Zevran allowed himself a little sigh of contentment. Such sweetness was strange and novel, and by Vanastin's wandering hands and lips on his way down (he edged Zevran's shirt up far enough that Zevran decided to simply be done with the thing) the Warden made his desire clear. Zevran knew the art well, and though he took great pleasure in working it he was so rarely subject—Vanastin had unlaced his trousers, set about easing them down, and found a sensitive place in the hollow of his hip that made Zevran gasp—subject to it, and Vanastin made him feel almost worshiped.

 

With the Warden, he wasn't wanted for his flesh or his skill with a blade, but for his company. That realization was more heartening than any kind words, somehow just as arousing as Vanastin's ministrations. He felt wanted, of consequence, for the first time since Rinna's apparent betrayal, with only the slightest fear that more of Vanastin's cruelty awaited him for falling so easily. So in addition to the eager tension between his legs there was a growing warmth in his belly, a fullness in his chest, strange emotions that simultaneously made him want to run and to embrace the man now kneeling in front of him.

Vanastin ran his lips up the side of Zevran's length, taking just the head into his mouth at the end, working his tongue against that particular spot on the underside—but it was brief, Vanastin quickly abandoning that work to tease further. By the time he returned to it Zevran was ready to tangle a hand in Vanastin's hair and none-too-subtly nudge him that direction, painfully hard and approaching frustration. The warmth of Vanastin's mouth engulfing him again produced another sigh, this one of relief, and he could see the smile in Vanastin's dark eyes as the other elf glanced up at him. After tracing all the lines and folds of Zevran's hardness with his tongue, slowly as if memorizing the feel and shape of it in his mouth, Vanastin set a pace of long, slow strokes, the seal of his lips perfect. Repetitive motion shook his loose hair forward, and after so much time pulled harshly back it framed his face quite perfectly. This was the lover Zevran was looking for, intense as the Warden but passionate and graceful, conscious of his appeal but unaware of its true extent. Zevran reached down to brush Vanastin's hair back so he could watch it fall forward again, and Vanastin gave a low hum of approval, the resonance of which pulled a sound of pleasure unbidden from Zevran's own throat. Vanastin was still smiling with his eyes, clearly amused.

When Zevran drew too close Vanastin closed the fingers of one hand tight around the base of his length, but Zevran could tell by now it would be too soon for his liking, so he knotted his hands in Vanastin's hair again and tugged gently, urging him off and up. The seal of his lips had been so tight that Vanastin slid off with a popping sound, making just the faintest scrape of his teeth against the head, and he looked up at Zevran from this kneeling position, hair mussed, face and lips flushed from the effort, eyes still burning in intensity. Zevran urged him up again with a tug, and Vanastin stood, leaning forward, settling his hands on Zevran's shoulders, to kiss him. It was soft at first, little more than a slide of their lips together, but when Zevran started working at the lacing of Vanastin's trousers Vanastin took initiative, begging for entrance by sliding his tongue along Zevran's lips, and when Zevran allowed it he reveled in the fact that he could still taste himself on Vanastin's tongue, and he wondered again at that strange tactile memorization Vanastin seemed so interested in, testing the shape of things with his tongue. The thought of Vanastin pleasuring himself to a memory of Zevran in his mouth, recalling the taste and the roll of soft skin across his lips, the weight occupying his tongue, was almost too much. Zevran's haste to divest Vanastin of his trousers increased, and once he had Vanastin free of them and all beneath he tugged the Warden into his lap, straddling him again. In the hasty motion their teeth clacked together softly, and Vanastin drew away for an instant to laugh, hands moving to splay against Zevran's shoulder blades, slouching to reach a more equal height in their position.

“We look like idiots,” Vanastin said, “sitting in this chair with our pants around our ankles.”

 

Zevran just tugged Vanastin's shirt off and kissed him again, relishing the feel of Vanastin's smile against him, and thrust softly up, drawing Vanastin's attention to the fact that their lengths where no more than a finger's width apart in this position. In response Vanastin trailed one hand down across Zevran's chest to grip them together best as he could, but Vanastin was proportionately smaller in all regards, so Zevran trailed his opposite hand down to join, such that between the two of them their hands formed a sort of “o” into which they could both thrust with no worry of slipping apart.

As he set a middling pace Zevran abandoned Vanastin's mouth, tracings his lips over the tattoo on Vanastin's chin and down his throat, which Vanastin eagerly tiled his head back to expose. The flesh here was soft and sensitive, particularly down near the hollow of Vanastin's throat, which Zevran kissed and sucked and licked at. Vanastin tilted his head back further as if trying to expose more flesh, and Zevran had to circle the Warden's waist with his free arm to keep him from tipping back. Zevran decided to abandon this particular spot, as the effect seemed more than they could handle in this position, hunching down to take a nipple into his mouth, teasing it to hardness with his tongue before biting softly. When Vanastin responded with a sound something like a whimper, Zevran bit a little harder, tugging with his teeth this time in a carefully measured amount of pressure. Breaking the rhythm of their thrusts, Vanastin ground against him jerkily for an instant, but recovered himself and realized his precarious balance. Vanastin's grip on Zevran's shoulder tightened, and he drew himself up, bowing his chin almost to his chest to watch Zevran kiss his way over to the over nipple, stopping to trace with his tongue the arrow slit scars that marred his breast.

Creators,” Vanastin breathed. “You're amazing.”

Zevran only smiled in response and continued his ministrations, eventually drifting back up to nibble and suck along Vanastin's collarbone, looking for sensitive places yet undiscovered. The hard sex they often shared could hardly be called lovemaking, and so despite having been together for months now their bodies were still relatively new to each other. Vanastin still remained strangely silent, as he had whenever they went beyond the simple sating of lust, but his physical reactions spoke loudly as the most licentious moan. The spectacle of the Warden writhing against him, at the mercy of Zevran's tongue, spurred Zevran on, and so he came an instant after Vanastin, the smaller elf jerking and arching against him, spilling himself between them with a soft but guttural cry.

When they were both spent Vanastin curled around him, kissing and nibbling at Zevran's neck and ear. Zevran repeated that gesture again, the affectionate one Vanastin made on occasion, and whispered, “Let me make love to you as if I were your Tamlen.”

No,” Vanastin said solidly, and pushed away. Zevran found none of the anger or sorrow he expected in those intense, dark eyes, but something just as frightening. “You deserve more than that. We will make love to each other as befits us, as befits you, not as surrogates for ghosts.”

Zevran leaned to the side and snatched his shirt up from the floor, used it to clean them up as best he could, Vanastin chuckling at the effort and the unusual implement. No one would think much of Zevran walking the halls half-disrobed and disheveled in the middle of the night, especially not with Vanastin in tow. So they made themselves presentable enough to make it to the bedroom without attracting more than snickers and sneers.

And as Vanastin walked beside him Zevran decided that, yes, there really was something to stick around for, to live for. Perhaps they could begin again after the Archdemon, somewhere new, strangers to all but each other, including to themselves.

dalishstorm: (Default)
Original prompt: M!Mahariel is still upset about what happened to Tamlen. Takes place after Shriek!Tamlen attacks the camp and Mahariel was forced to kill him. Comfort fic, anyone?
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Tamlen!”

Zevran glanced over his shoulder in the same instant he tore out a Shriek's throat with his dagger, startled by the agony in Vanastin's voice, convinced the Warden must have suffered some truly grievous injury. Instead of seeing the Warden fall under a Shriek's blade, though, Zevran saw him chasing one off into the woods, slipping into the underbrush sleekly as a fleeing halla. The Warden would never quit the field so hastily under any conceivable circumstance, so Zevran turned to pursue, pushing aside the blade of an attacking Shriek with his dagger and slashing his sword across it's abdomen, spilling blood and viscera. Then he ran.

Vanastin made so little disturbance in the undergrowth that Zevran had trouble following him, at least until he caught up to the Shriek. Voices, Vanastin's and another, which startled Zevran nearly as much as the pain in Vanastin's earlier cry. Zevran broke into the small clearing, no more than three paces across, nearly stepped on Vanastin's discarded bow. The Shriek lay twitching on the forest floor, Vanastin's hands just leaving a dagger embedded in its chest to run bloodied fingertips up on jaw and up an ear, tracing across the naked scalp as if running through thick hair. Zevran had known this gesture from the Warden exactly once, loving and gentle, unlike the dark storm Zevran knew so well and welcomed to his bedroll.

“Thank you, lethalin.....” If the Shriek meant to say more Zevran would never know, as Vanastin sealed his lips over the Shriek's in a kiss so passionate it made even Zevran uncomfortable. That he could tell the Shriek returned it weakly, and knew when the darkspawn breathed it's dying gasp into Vanastin's waiting mouth, disturbed him. Vanastin didn't draw back immediately, waiting until the body began to relax in death, and as the other elf pulled away Zevran saw the faintest hint of blood on his lips, wetness on his cheeks. Vanastin gripped the Shriek's shoulders tightly and screamed, a sound of rage and grief that echoed between the trees, the gravel in his voice eventually giving out, voice failing him, and then he buried his face in the crook of the Shriek's neck and sobbed, for the most part silent save an occasional, broken sound, not quite a gasp but clearly a reflexive intake of breath.

Zevran couldn't claim to know much about darkspawn, but it seemed clear what had transpired here, at least the basics of it. He knew any sort of contact would anger Vanastin, perhaps deadly in his current state of mind, and yet he couldn't simply leave the Warden there mourning, unprotected. This was the lover he'd mentioned, however unlikely, and Zevran could not step into that last moment, though he had hoped to supplant this man in Vanastin's desires.

Alistair and Leliana came barreling into the clearing, and Leliana gasped, otherwise silent, understanding the scene in some degree. Alistair swore, “Maker, what--”

Zevran silenced him, holding one hand up. Before he could warn them off Vanastin shifted, turned his head to face them, showing his tears and his grief openly. ”Leave,” he ordered, and with Leliana tugging at one arm Alistair obeyed. Zevran turned, stooping to retrieve Vanastin's bow for him, and would've followed them but for a hand catching his wrist. Turning back, he found Vanastin kneeling now, one hand still gripping the cooling corpse, looking up at him, silently pleading. Zevran simply stood, letting Vanastin use him as a brace to pull himself up. Vanastin muttered something, and Zevran' didn't catch it, the gravel in his voice conspiring with thick emotion to obscure any softly spoken words, but he was pushing away from Zevran, then pulling him along at the same time, letting go after a few steps. Zevran decided he would retrieve the dagger later, and instead settled a hand on Vanastin's shoulder, following him out of the forest.

When Wynne approached to fuss over a gash across Vanastin's left temple, the surly Warden they all knew resurfaced for a moment, snarled and shook her off. As they moved away Wynne caught Zevran's eye, and he saw none of her usual derision there—Vanastin's unabashed tears shocked them all, and he was still crying openly, though silently.

Eventually the Warden stopped crying, though he moved automatically, mechanically, as he helped clear bodies and prepped to break camp quickly in the morning. Zevran used the end of their work as an excuse to clean up, and convinced the other elf to join him, but Zevran took none of his usual pleasure in getting the Warden alone, nude, drenched—Vanastin wasn't there, in his place a body simply going through all the correct motions. By the time they finished the middle watch started, and so Vanastin took his place by the fire, staring blankly ahead. Zevran knew that numbness intimately, felt a pang of it returning at the sight of it expressed so profoundly, and remained quietly at Vanastin's side regardless of how weary he was.

Leliana relieved them towards morning, a little earlier than expected, and Vanastin didn't notice at all. Now Zevran wasn't sure what to do, whether it was safe to leave Vanastin alone and seek his own rest or if the Warden was just as unstable as Zevran had been. When he hovered, uncertain, Vanastin eventually said, “I don't want to be alone tonight.”

Zevran longed for some space other than the Warden's tent, somewhere less cramped, somewhere he could properly distract the Warden, who was always dominant and more than a little forceful. Given a little more room he could offer the Warden more of a release, perhaps, instead of the simplicity he found himself forced into. But as soon as they were alone, instead of his usual manner Vanastin stayed close, running the tips of his fingers up the back of Zevran's arm, reaching up to make that same gesture, running his fingers through Zevran's hair then sliding his hand down along one ear. Unable to contain the sound of his pleasure Zevran gave a soft, appreciative moan, and as soon as his lips part Vanastin darted up, caught them in his own.

They'd kissed like this exactly once, and Vanastin had done it simply to prove that he could. Now Zevran wasn't sure if Vanastin was kissing him or the memory of that lover, and that stole some of the sweetness from the kiss, but Zevran reminded himself that he was here for the Warden's pleasure, in all senses of the word, here to assure his own safety from the Crows, not to get caught up in all the subtext Vanastin provided, in how much the angry outcast seemed to care in spite of himself. Vanastin drew away for a moment, and for this first time that night truly looked at Zevran, dark eyes focusing sharply on him, none of the usual hardness there, only pain and desire. Surprising himself, Zevran wanted nothing more than to take Vanastin into his arms, to kiss that pain away, to offer comfort in more than the physical ways he understood. The thought frightened him, and he had no idea how to go about it—no one had ever offered him the same, after all.

He tried anyway, wrapping one arm around Vanastin's shoulders to draw him close again, letting the other slide down to the small of Vanastin's back, and drew him in for another soft kiss. Vanastin relented, letting Zevran lead the dance for once, not so much reprieve as an utter surrender. Normally deft hands fumbled for the buckles and ties of Zevran's armor, sliding along flesh wherever it could be found in feathery touches, fingers leaving a wake of shuddering pleasure. Zevran pulled away to make a mutual effort at this, mirroring Vanastin's motions to remove the Warden's own armor, eventually stilling Vanastin's hands in his own to peel away the archery gloves, giving him more than two bare fingers to trail across Zevran's flesh. But first Zevran brought one hand up to his lips, took fingertips into his mouth one by one, swirling his tongue around the tips briefly in a suggestive fashion. Obvious and immediate was Vanastin's reaction, and encouraged Zevran continued his assault, laying a kiss on Vanastin's palm before directing that hand to his shoulder and leaning in to trail his lips across Vanastin's collarbone, pausing to nip at what he knew to be a sensitive spot. He'd leave no marks tonight, though, repaying like with like. This soft and gentle thing between them, strange as it was, had an appeal all its own.

Zevran mused, as he worked his way up Vanastin's neck to suck and kiss at one sensitive ear, that this must be how the Warden behaved with his previous lover, which led Zevran to all manner of conclusions about the Warden's behavior otherwise. Perhaps he had not always been so harsh, so full of darkness. What was he like, then, beneath all of that pain? Zevran sincerely doubted this was his true face any more, this almost delicate creature making wordless gasps under his ministrations. When Zevran worked his way back down the other side, pausing to catch a nipple between his lips and rolling his tongue across it, he had the frightening and liberating thought that he could perhaps tell Vanastin, that the other elf might understand. As he worked his way down across Vanastin's taut stomach, trailing kisses and soft touches, Vanastin raked his hands through Zevran's hair, already trembling under the effort of holding himself up. Zevran ran his hands down over Vanastin's hips and around to the back of his thighs, encouraging Vanastin to lay back with a light pressure, pulling Vanastin's knees up as he did so, and with that shift carried his own ministrations lower. Avoiding any contact with Vanastin's hardness save a brief, soft brush against one cheek as he passed, Zevran wandered lower, pausing to nip at the interior joint of Vanastin's thigh before trailing lower still, gripping Vanastin's hips with both hands to shift them once more before pressing his tongue to the ring of muscle at Vanastin's entrance. Tensing, Vanastin gasped in surprise at that touch, then relaxed without any coaxing, so Zevran continued. Zevran had a vague plan, more of a goal, and otherwise he was simply improvising, doing the things he thought would disarm Vanastin most, things he was certain he wouldn't be allowed to do at another time.

Once he had Vanastin shaking, gnawing at his lip to keep from making noise, Zevran pulled away. He knew exactly where Vanastin packed the oil meant for this, used to preparing himself for the Warden's sudden and almost violent lust. As he slicked his fingers Vanastin opened his eyes, until now screwed shut, and whispered, “Zevran?” Zevran made a curious noise, looking down at him slyly. “Thank you.”

Zevran tried not to think about Vanastin's tone of voice, about the depth of emotion in his eyes, as he pressed first one finger into the smaller elf, then a second. Vanastin arched into his touch, trying to take more of him in, managed, “Please,” but Zevran wanted to ensure Vanastin's comfort, waited until he was certain Vanastin could accommodate him before slicking himself and entering Vanastin. The other elf was hot and tight around him, reached up to wrap his arms around Zevran's shoulders and rocked his hips to meet Zevran's. By his motions Vanastin was accustomed to this position, moreso than those they found themselves in usually, but by the feeling of him and his eagerness it had been much too long since anyone had pleasured him in such a fashion. And once they were joined together Vanastin went strangely silent, no longer trying to contain the little noises of his lust, as if trained to this.

Zevran didn't let the thought bother him long, instead stealing as many little kisses against the Warden's jaw and neck as he could, trying to focus on drawing the Warden's pleasure out, on moving against a particular spot. No matter what he did he couldn't get a further sound out of Vanastin, not until Vanastin tensed around him, deliberately working his muscles in an attempt to make Zevran climax with him. It worked, and they shared their release, Zevran burying his face in Vanastin's neck as Vanastin arched against him, again trying to take more in than Zevran had to give—alarming and enticing, for how small and tight he was. The name Vanastin gasped wasn't his, but Zevran ignored it, and was shortly rewarded with Vanastin nipping at one ear, touch still gentle, whispering, “Thank you,” voice hoarse and breaking on soft sounds. “You deserve better than this. Than me.”

“They'll have to invent someone, then.” Zevran joked to disguise his own pleasure at Vanastin's clear regret. And for once Vanastin didn't send him away, so Zevran spent the rest of the night curled around him, holding him—there were no more tears for now, and Zevran took that as a victory.

dalishstorm: (Default)

Original prompt: Zevran tries making moves on the Warden as s/he's trying to tend to a rather serious wound of his.
--------------------------

Zevran winced more at the sounds coming from the next room over than Vanastin's careful testing of the arrows embedded in his thigh. His own pain he could deal with, terrible though it was, but the sight of Alistair after he'd been swarmed by undead—Vanastin had led him away to another side room of the ruined temple, offering a shoulder to help him keep weight off the leg, then lowered him down to the floor against one wall. They were out of the way here, as Wynne had plenty of help and Zevran's injury needed to be seen to, even if it wasn't nearly as dramatic.

“Sorry,” Vanastin mumbled, more for propriety's sake than any actual regret from his voice, and that little sickle-shaped blade appeared in one hand, flashed silver in the temple's faint light as it slashed his leggings open far enough for Vanastin to get at the arrows and wrap the wounds after. Zevran had yet to figure out where Vanastin kept the thing, and that amused him. He liked that Vanastin was deft enough to keep things even from him. He liked a challenge—and that's what Vanastin was, surly and dark and deadly and beautiful, like a storm. Again and again he returned to that metaphor, but no storm made flesh could have such a delicate touch.

So he said as much. “It occurs to me, that for one so stoic you have an oddly gentle touch. Is this something you have cultivated, or do you come by it naturally?”

Vanastin hesitated, hands hovering over the first arrow, but he didn't look up. “I'm a hunter,” he said, as if this should explain perfectly well.

“But an archer has little need of a delicate touch, yes? Strength and dexterity, certainly, but this softness--” As soon as the word escaped him Vanastin braced the first arrow and pulled, and Zevran ground his teeth but couldn't contain all sound.

Smiling darkly up at him, Vanastin asked, “You were saying?”

Zevran couldn't contain a little chuckle, even if his eyes pricked with tears (he'd been through so much worse, but that didn't make this hurt any less). “I was about to ask what need a hunter would have for an almost sensual touch.” 

Vanastin jerked the other arrow out, and Zevran's vision went white for a moment, pain nearly flooring him. “Pulling arrows out of idiots, and binding up wounds, for one.” He allowed a careless touch with his free hand, fingers running up the inside of Zevran's thigh, while he began cleaning the wounds. The Warden was confident but soft in his motions, and Zevran thought he'd never been treated with such care, even by Wynne. “Aside from the obvious uses.”

“Ah, so it's more recreational in nature? Somehow, I doubted you had it in you. I believe I require a demonstration to be convinced.”

Vanastin's lips twitched, perhaps hinting at a genuine smile, not one colored by darker emotions. As he treated the wounds, laying on healing salve and binding them, he let any necessary touch away from the injury linger, and carefully controlled the strength of his touch in wrapping the injury. Zevran already knew the Warden was practiced in field medicine, but this was interesting. Such tenderness made him feel cared for, frightening and unexpected from the Warden.

As Vanastin finished Zevran reached out, slid two fingers down his jawline to beneath his chin and tiled Vanastin's face up just in time to catch him in a kiss. Again the Warden's manner was uncommonly gentle, not the violent and hungry creature Zevran was used to feeling pressed against him, passionate in a different fashion. Vanastin's right hand lingered over the bandages, but his left tangled in Zevran's hair for a moment, fingertips sliding across Zevran's scalp in just such a way—Zevran shuddered at the tingling warmth down his spine, and Vanastin moved that hand to flick at the tip of Zevran's ear with a fingertip, then tracing down the underside. If they kept this up, Zevran wasn't sure he'd be able to contain himself.

As if sensing that point of no return, Vanastin put just a little pressure down on the injury, and when Zevran gasped in pain the Warden he knew so well returned, sensual kiss suddenly more a claiming. When the Warden drew away abruptly Zevran wasn't sure if he wanted more or wanted to flee from this game of give and take the Warden played.

“I have not been so prolific in my lovers,” Vanastin sneered when he said the word, as if he found it distasteful, “but just as practiced with them. I wouldn't question that again, were I you.”

dalishstorm: (Default)

Original prompt: mouth-to-mouth
-------------------

For some reason, waking to warm, soft lips against his was startling—he had expected something else, something violent, or not waking at all, but exactly why remained unclear for a moment, only that he had experienced a sensation of falling, a sudden, sharp cold, a brief moment of relief in the thought that death might be upon him--

Never one to miss an opportunity, Zevran returned the awkward kiss with his own eager motions, tongue darting up to run across surprisingly rough lips—the other mouth drew away almost immediately, and Zevran opened his eyes, making a sound of mild disappointment.

The Warden's heavily tattooed face lingered over him, dark eyes glaring out of a scowl, chestnut hair slicked to his skin—indeed, the Warden was soaked, and Zevran gave him an appraising look. Somehow, Vanastin's permanent scowl deepened, and he growled, “If you're well enough for that, you're well enough to move on.” And the Dalish elf offered him a hand up.

Alistair and Morrigan regarded Zevran with annoyance as their leader took up bow and quiver again, but Zevran only smiled in response, a flirty expression. He remembered, now, how a spike of panic at seeing the Warden driven to the ground under a werewolf's pounce, bow held under its chin by arms trembling under the exertion the only thing keeping snapping jaws and their cursed bite at bay, had driven him to foolhardy action. And once he had convinced his opponent he was the greater threat, how he'd so easily been cornered against a cliff edge, one that had collapsed beneath him, dumping him into the swift and icy river below. Thoroughly soaked, Zevran shivered against the forest's cool mist, wished for the dry heat of the Antivan interior or even the wet heat of his beloved Antiva City for at least the tenth time since coming to Ferelden—or for the warmth of the Warden's body against his.


~*~


Zevran spent a good portion of the night staring up at the slanting walls of his tent, well visible in the bright moonlight, sleep elusive. Now he understood the Warden's mouth pressed to his had been entirely utilitarian, but the offered hand up, even in the Warden's obvious annoyance an apparent disgust, on top of the daring rescue (Alistair retold the tale with unusual art, of Vanastin throwing aside his weapons and leaping into the river like an expert diver) and kiss of life, that seemed a metaphor. And in spite of his surly nature, the Warden was forever proving that he listened, that beneath his extremely prickly exterior he cared about each of them, or was at least good at playing their heartstrings like a master lutenist.

He had wanted to die, surely, but the chosen instrument of his demise staunchly refused to let it happen. After falling in battle, Vanastin was always the one to offer a hand up, first to see to his wounds. Always with that scowl, permanently etched into his sun-browned skin (still not so dark as Zevran's, these pale Fereldan Dalish) as definitively as the tattoos twining across Vanastin's cheeks and forehead, the little patch of ink on his chin. Vanastin was hardly the sort he fancied, hard and lean and small even for an elf, but for all his presence the man might as well be nine feet tall and Qunari—even powerful humans seemed to cower before Vanastin, given a moment's attention from his sharp tongue and his hard eyes. Such control Zevran found attractive, that Vanastin was an incredibly dangerous man—flirting with him seemed to Zevran rather like flirting with a thunderstorm, potentially lethal but beautiful.

When he hastily dressed and left his tent, Zevran had no idea what he intended. He only knew the Warden would be on watch, as the other elf always took middle watch unless physically incapable. Vanastin huddled by the guttering fire, blanket drawn tightly around his shoulders, bow and quiver and daggers leaning to one side and the mabari curled at his other. Stealthily as he could Zevran approached, coming around to one side, hoping to evade Vanastin's notice for a moment while getting a good look at the Warden to assess his prey.

What he saw was not the Warden. Vanastin hunched before the fire, left hand idly scratching at the sleeping mabari's head, right clutching the blanket in a white-knuckled grip at his throat, staring into the fire without his usual scowl, but what seemed almost a grimace of pain. Zevran wondered briefly if the Warden had been injured, but dismissed the thought immediately. Immeasurably proud, yes, but Vanastin wasn't foolish enough to conceal an injury. With no good explanation for that expression, Zevran turned away, because Vanastin would surely resent anyone witnessing a moment of weakness.

“Did you want something?” The gravel in Vanastin's voice, an undertone of anger, brought Zevran a sense of relief. They could pretend, perhaps, that he had seen nothing? So Zevran turned back, sat next to Vanastin, careful to avoid coming between the Warden and his weapons.

“I have a question, if I may.” Vanastin stared at him blankly, expectant, so Zevran continued. “I am curious as to why you spared me, and why you now go to such great lengths to keep me alive.”

Vanastin drew his left hand away from the mabari's head, drawing it into the confines of his makeshift cloak, and grunted, a darkly amused sound. “Would you rather I didn't?”

Sometimes. “No,” Zevran said instead, a laugh rolling beneath his words. “No, I am quite content with the situation. I simply wondered—it seems your life would be much easier without me, yes? I am, after all, an unknown quantity, a foreigner and an assassin hired to kill you at that.”
Looking away, Vanastin seemed to consider the question for a long moment, and Zevran worried that he'd given Vanastin an idea, made his point too well. Eventually Vanastin nodded toward Sten's tent and said, “The Qunari. He murdered a family who gave him succor. He could crush the life out of me at any time he wished. I may be faster, but I could never match him for strength. Leliana,” nodding to where she slept in turn, “is quite clearly crazy. As Alistair put it, 'one archdemon short of a blight'. She's said some frighteningly obsessive things to me. Morrigan's lethality needs no elucidation. Wynne clearly takes issue with my morality, and seems outraged enough to act on it. Alistair could easily end us by his incompetence. Of this group, I fear you least, aside from the hound: you are the only known quantity.”

Chuckling, because the depths of Vanastin's paranoia frightened him a little and he had to conceal it somehow, Zevran said, “And here I'd hoped it was simply my dashing good looks and exotic charms.”

This, too, made Vanastin pause, gazing into the dying flames. “You're not too useless,” surprised Zevran more because he hadn't expected a response. “Though you could learn to pick a lock, that would help immensely. Not that I can't do it myself. And you say something entertaining every once in a while.”

“Ah, I would never have known it from how often you laugh, Warden. How am I to continue winning your approval if you give me no signs?”

All the little night sounds crept in around them as Vanastin seemingly ignored the comment, and Zevran grew uncomfortable with the silence, then relaxed into it. This wasn't entirely unlike Vanastin, to ignore a question he had no interest in answering, behaving as if the words had fallen on deaf ears. So when he stood, Zevran looked up at him in surprise, quirking an eyebrow, and grew even more concerned when the other elf retreated to his tent. Vanastin emerged a moment later, and from a glimpse of bare skin as the blanket shifted Zevran realized he was nude underneath—it made sense, since his armor was still drying and the Dalish was something of an ascetic—and before sitting down next to Zevran threw something into the Antivan's lap. “Here.”

Zevran picked up the gloves and, as a knee-jerk reaction, said, “Gloves? You're giving me gloves?” confusion and mild derision evident in his voice.

Vanastin growled in response before saying, “If you don't want them, I'm sure someone else could use them. I'd look a little more carefully before turning them down.”

But Zevran was already running his fingers over the fine embroidery, a smile teasing at the corners of his lips. “They're like my mother's. I didn't expect you to listen. Surely,” he looked up, still smiling, “you expect something in return?”

Stubbornly refusing to make eye contact, Vanastin said, “I didn't know my family, either. I may have grown up among the Dalish, but none of them claim me as brother or son or anything of the sort. Not any more, at least. Just like you can never go home to the Dalish, neither can I. You're very much a known quantity, Zevran.”

Vanastin stiffened at the kiss, little more than a soft brush of Zevran's lips against his, but startling all the same, surely. Zevran really had no other way to express his gratitude, and it allowed him to indulge his growing attraction. It seemed like an appropriate moment, this admission of shared wounds, and Zevran worried very little over Vanastin rejecting him, confident he could play the situation off as a joke. He didn't expect Vanastin to dig a hand into his hair as Zevran drew away, dragging him back into a hard, bruising kiss, tongue searching his out. Zevran quickly overcame his shock and responded in kind, battling Vanastin for control in this, refusing to submit. As they fought Zevran brought a hand up to run his thumb along the underside of Vanastin's ear, following that line down along his throat to trace his collarbone in a light touch. The hand that had been clutching the blanket shut was the one now knotted in his hair, and so Zevran took advantage of this unimpeded access, hand drifting lower still and tracing the lines of Vanastin's chest, pausing to tease a nipple to hardness.
Already trembling under the assault, Vanastin moaned into his mouth, the hand tangled in Zevran's hair spasming as he relented the contest, letting Zevran take control. Opening his eyes and glancing to one side, Zevran saw Vanastin's off-hand stilled halfway to returning these caresses, now twitching forgotten in place. He broke off the kiss, which left Vanastin gasping for air, and disentangled the hand from his hair, pushed Vanastin down onto his back, splayed on the blanket by the fire.

Zevran continued down by tracing the suggestive lines of Vanastin's abdomen, breaking off to follow the v of muscle down toward Vanastin's growing hardness.... But he hesitated, drew away, teasing the other elf. It earned a growled, “Zevran,” threats of violence in Vanastin's gravelly voice, the sound of which sent a jolt of fire down Zevran's spine to the heat stirring in his own loins. Keen to see the Warden's face rapt in ecstasy, to hear him growl that name without the threat of violence but in release, Zevran palmed Vanastin's erection and set to work, establishing a variable pace, quickening to match Vanastin's thrusts but drawing back when he seemed too near. He leaned in to catch Vanastin's mouth in a kiss again, the other elf drawing his hands up and across Zevran's shoulders to keep him close, fingertips digging in hard enough to surely leave bruises. By such reactions, Zevran wagered it had been far too long since the Warden knew another's touch, and took pleasure in obliging.

Vanastin's body tensed under him, and Vanastin spilled himself across Zevran's hand and his own taut stomach with no more sound than a quiet gasp. Zevran drew back from the desperate kiss to find Vanastin's eyes closed, face uncharacterisitcally peaceful. Something in the expression was faintly touching, and Zevran took pride in his own success at smoothing the lines of perpetual anger from the Warden's face. He looked young like this, unspoiled by hardship.

When Vanastin opened his eyes he offered a faint smile, catching Zevran's gaze with his own. “You see what I mean about not being too useless?”

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