dalishstorm: (grumpy theron)
It appeared like an innocent enough exchange from a distance, Zevran in his usual sly manner asking Morrigan some question dripping with innuendo--but it was his way, even in simple exchanges. When she tried to slap him, red-faced, and he nimbly dodged, it still wasn't too out of the ordinary, though the others took note and turned to watch at the animalistic sound of rage and indignation Morrigan made.

No, Vanastin decided, it wasn't really obvious anything was wrong until she transformed into a wolf and started chasing Zevran through the camp. He was just nimble enough to keep putting obstacles between them, going so far as to vault over Wynne's tent, which Morrigan simply tore through.

"Er, Van,..." Alistair shifted nervously beside him, "Aren't you going to stop them?"

"Give me that," and the Dalish pulled the little container Alistair was holding out of the not-quite-templar's hands, started snacking on the weird shem food Alistair had been explaining before this outburst. "Five sovereigns says she catches him."

"She's a wolf! Of course she'll catch him! And I thought you two were--"

"Five sovereigns," Vanastin repeated, refusing to take his eyes off the spectacle--they'd knocked over one of the poles on Morrigan's little lean-to now, and the roof came crashing down on her potion bottles. "I'll stop them after she catches him."
----

"Shem wouldn't take the bet," Vanastin said, but Zevran couldn't look up at him, too surprised by the almost tender manner Vanastin took in wrapping his arm.  "He's getting smarter."

"Perhaps I should take a lesson from our Templar friend, since I clearly have not learned my lesson about listening to--ah!"  Zevran flinched, tried to pull his arm away at a careless, certainly deliberate prod to one of the tooth marks.

"Don't piss off both of the mages next time."  The smile curling the corners of Vanastin's mouth wasn't quite his usual predatory grin.

"Sometimes, I think you must do these sorts of things deliberately.  As if you--ah, how do they say it here?--get off on tending my wounds."

"Nonsense.  But I do like having you at my mercy."
dalishstorm: (grumpy theron)

I would very much like Zevran and m!Warden of choice sexing in their tent.

Zev rides on top; kink is that they're trying very, very hard not to make any noise.
---
I botched this one.  Oops!
-----

It had taken no small effort, but Zevran—with a little help, of course—had finally talked their savage-natured leader into shelling out the coin for rooms at an inn, giving them a couple of days to recuperate after the grueling trek through the Circle Tower. Lucky, that, it was during a terrible rainstorm, one no one but Vanastin fancied camping in. Some of them had to share rooms, but they had a warm meal with none of Alistair's unwelcome “help”, comfortable beds... it was that latter Zevran was almost regretting now. Zevran and Vanastin had been sleeping together for a little while, and he'd grown quite used to Vanastin's hard lust, that sex with the Warden was more like wolves rutting. With a merry fire in the hearth against the Fereldan chill, Zevran wanted little more than to rest, for once. But they shared a room, naturally, and Vanastin was insistent.

Disrobing was utilitarian, no art or seduction in it, but Vanastin paused briefly to make that strangely affectionate gesture, running his fingers alone one of Zevran's ears and up into his hair. The Dalish elf leaned forward with the gesture to whisper in Zevran's ear, “Not a sound more than I would make. And if you come first, you'll find no rest here.” The growl in his dark voice sent a shiver down Zevran's spine, and it wasn't purely pleasurable.

Even as Zevran rifled through his pack for the little vial of oil he needed to prepare himself, he was contemplating Vanastin's threat. Did Vanastin mean they'd spend the night so occupied? Or that he'd turn Zevran out to find a bed elsewhere? The Warden kept a firm grip on the group's purse strings, which meant Zevran would be finding someone else's bed to warm or pitching a tent, since he was unlikely to get any charity from their companions. Before he'd come to a conclusion Vanastin had snatched the vial from him and pushed Zevran to the bed, straddling the backs of the Antivan's thighs and effectively pinning him.

Zevran spent a long moment in anticipation before Vanastin slid a hand up the inside of one thigh, touch light. The Dalish elf had obviously paused to warm the oil between his fingers, because the slick touch at Zevran's entrance was warm, strangely gentle, circling the ring of muscle,
teasing..... Zevran was used to preparing himself, and had intended to make a show of it tonight. He'd experienced a light touch from Vanastin before, but it was rare, usually calculated to disguise some other cruelty or a rare reward.

But Vanastin took his time, and by the time Vanastin slowly pressed a single finger into him, well slicked, Zevran felt like he was on fire. He wanted more, he wanted it faster, he wanted... He had to bite back a moan, gritting his teeth against making any sound. Two fingers wasn't quite enough, even when Vanastin curled his fingers to press against him just so.... When Vanastin withdrew he was left empty and wanting, quivering with need, and pushed himself up from the bed's surface slightly to take his own aching hardness in hand.

Vanastin settled a hand on his back and pushed Zevran to the bed, trapping his hands and refusing him that release, before sliding in, agonizingly slow. And he kept at that, pace slow but angle perfect. Being pushed to the bed and trapped so rang all sorts of alarm bells for Zevran, but he quickly found he didn't want to move, it all just felt too good, and a certain heat was already curling in his belly.

Zevran had to gnaw at his lip to keep from making noise, and Vanastin even leaned down, brushing Zevran's hair aside to expose one ear, worked his way down from the tip sucking and nipping as he had before, sometimes delicately and sometimes savagely, the hand on Zevran's back supporting him and his free hand trailing down to grip at Zevran's hip, fingers tight.

By the time he drew back Zevran was contemplating the night spent cold and alone outside to keep himself from peaking too early, and the night's first clap of thunder disguised a full-throated moan that managed to escape him. It might be better, Maker, to succumb and be done with this torment and suffer whatever punishment Vanastin had in mind with his threat....

Vanastin finally spilled himself into Zevran with a gasp, coming hard, but as soon as he was spent withdrew, leaving Zevran on the verge of his own orgasm and wanting. The Antivan couldn't hold back a desperate, “What--”

But Vanastin was already urging him to roll over, and once he had nipped one of Zevran's ears hard, and Zevran drew a little blood biting his lip against crying out. “You can make all the noise you want, now.” Vanastin grinned wickedly, and worked his way down in a series of soft kisses and harsh bites and dark love marks, leaving Zevran hard but drawing away from the edge, even has his own aching need drew across Vanastin's sculpted body as the smaller elf ventured down. He took Zevran into his mouth and thrust two fingers in to fill that aching void at nearly the same instant, and Zevran made a little noise of surprise.

Somewhere between the third finger and realizing that Vanastin was swallowing around him, Zevran came blinding-hard with a harsh cry. When he surfaced from it, limbs trembling, he looked down to see Vanastin still crouched between his legs, a last splatter of Zevran's release against one cheek with a thin trail leading to Vanastin's mouth, the nearest bit of which was licked away once he had Zevran's attention. The sight sent another thrill of pleasure through Zevran, and he settled back with a sated, exhausted moan.

Weakness

Nov. 11th, 2010 08:49 pm
dalishstorm: (grumpy theron)
RL has really been kicking me in the teeth lately, so I'd like to make a request in the hopes of cheering up...

Zevran is blood-controlled by an enemy mage and ends up seriously wounding the Warden (who he is in a relationship with) while under the spell. This anon would like to see the hurt/comfort/forgiveness/guilt sex that occurs afterwards! (no preference as to which flavor of m!Warden, so long as it's a dude)
-----
The world disappeared under a red haze and Zevran knew only one thing: a sweet voice whispering, “Kill him,” gently into his ear. And it was all that mattered, that he please this speaker. It was a delicious sort of helplessness, freedom from choice, and falling on the other elf in a rain of blows, watching more red blossom under his knives, was one of the most satisfying sensations he'd ever known.

A hard impact threw him off, landing in a heap some distance away, and back to reality. It wasn't much different, really, his vision going dim for a moment as his skull cracked against the floor, ears ringing. It took longer than he would've liked to gather his senses. Zevran got to his knees, moving slowly because the world was still spinning. He saw Alistair standing over the Tevinter mage, flicking blood from his sword before sheathing it, and Morrigan somewhat nearer, kneeling on the floor, hunched over Vanastin's prone body. Zevran pushed himself up to his feet and stumbled over, almost forgetting his own sword and dagger.

The Warden had let go of the bow, but still held onto one arrow in a white-knuckled grip, his skin gone pale under so much blood. Zevran's strikes had all been true, mostly killing blows, and only Morrigan's meager healing magic kept Vanastin breathing. Dark eyes under half-lidded eyes rolled to him, acknowledged Zevran's presence. “Zevran.”

“Shut up,” Morrigan spat. “You can waste your breath on your fool lover later. Alistair! I need you to carry him.”

Si, amore? He almost said, but just reached down to wrap a hand around Vanastin's upper arm, heedless of the blood—his hands were already dark with it, anyway.

Quick as a flash of lightning, so fast even Zevran could hardly follow the motion, Vanastin wrenched himself up and lunged with the arrow in his hand, driving it into Zevran's arm. The Antivan cried out more in surprise than pain, and jerked away as Vanastin collapsed and tried to curl up around the wounds, gasping weakly but smiling. “We're even.”

Alistair carried the Warden back, but Morrigan kept a hand on the elf, kept pushing as much healing power as she could into him, which was just enough to keep him alive, never quite enough to stop the bleeding. So by the time they reached Eamon's estate everyone was covered in the Warden's blood, and when they entered Wynne happened to be in the front room, talking to Leliana. The elder mage immediately began ordering people around, telling a servant run for this, run for that, led Alistair back to the Warden's rooms all in a hurry—and they shut the door in Zevran's face.

He finally came out of his daze. I did this. He looked down at his hands, the arrow shaft broken off in his forearm and blood up to his elbows. And after we have just come to terms with our desires. This may as well be Rinna's blood.

Leliana's hand on his shoulder surprised him, and Zevran turned to her. “I'll do what I can for your arm,” she said, so he followed her to another room nearby. Alistair's, Zevran thought, but he didn't care at the moment. Leliana sat him down in a chair and carefully removed the arrow, her touch delicate and her hands steady, removed his bracers, then washed the blood from his arms in a basin. “You hurt him, didn't you?”

“There was a blood mage,” Zevran managed. “I could not fight him.”

“And that arrow is his,” she said, frowning a little.

“He said, 'We're even' after he put it there.”

“He'll forgive you,” Leliana said, frown dissolving into a little smile. “Vanastin is cruel, surely, but he is not so cruel. He will understand.”

If he lives. But Zevran said nothing, and let her finish by packing a poultice into the wound before bandaging it. Without magic it would scar, but this was one mark Zevran felt he'd earned. If Vanastin died.... Zevran knew now he would die with the Warden, whether physically or otherwise. They'd saved each other, after all.


He sat up all night, waiting for some word on Vanastin's condition. It was well past midnight when Wynne exited the room, drying her arms with a clean towel, and announced, “He'll live.” She didn't seem particularly pleased, and wearily trudged off to her room. Zevran slipped in as servants finished carrying out the supplies Wynne had used, and there was still so much blood--

None on Vanastin, now. He was pale as the bandages covering him, the tattoos across his face standing out starkly, and moonlight streaming in through the windows made him radiant and ghostly. He looked fragile, too, small against the large bed, but Zevran knew it was a trick on the eyes. Vanastin was anything but--

No, he was fragile. But Zevran had to see that weakness in himself before he could see it in Vanastin. They had so neatly shown each other the night Vanastin killed Taliesen that they were both vulnerable, and doubly strong for seeing it in each other. Standing here, watching his lover (they were now, after all, strange as it seemed) struggle to breathe and shiver in the chill night air, Zevran knew Vanastin would be angry, would probably unleash some of that cruelty their companions feared, but it wasn't the hunter, merely the beast he had become.

Zevran tugged the blankets up to Vanastin's chin, and the unconscious Dalish leaned into the warmth of an accidental touch.


Vanastin woke a few times during the next day, but never for more than a handful of minutes at a time. He was weak, disoriented, and Zevran did his best to keep the others out. Wynne's presence couldn't be helped, and she looked on both the elves, the one in her care and the one underfoot, disapprovingly. Vanastin had an image to keep, and letting the others see him like this would give them the impression he had vulnerabilities—he did, of course, but it would create some sort of sympathy, make him more approachable in their companions' eyes.

The others had just gone to bed, and Zevran decided to check on Vanastin one last time before retiring himself. He found the Warden leaning heavily against the windowsill nearest the bed, breathing hard, dressed only in his bandages and a pair of too-large linen trews. Zevran paused in the doorway, uncertain if he should go get Wynne or talk the Warden into getting back in bed.

Before he could decide Vanastin spoke. “Zevran,” his dark voice breaking on the gravel in it, wavering, but he clearly wasn't so bad off if he had heard Zevran's entrance. “Come here.”

Zevran obeyed, as surely as he had obeyed the blood mage's sweet voice in his ear, closing the door behind himself and stepping up to Vanastin's side. From his posture the Warden was putting most of his weight against the wall, and despite his pallor Vanastin was smiling, eyes bright. Seeing the Warden like this was unsettling, and Zevran was almost afraid to touch him. But he wasn't afraid of Vanastin's wrath any more, didn't care if this was some calculated move to lull him into a sense of complacency before Vanastin struck out.

Reaching out, Vanastin wrapped a hand around Zevran's upper arm, and pulled himself close, shaking with the effort. Zevran had to wrap his arms around Vanastin, afraid the smaller elf might collapse, and Vanastin buried his head in the crook of Zevran's neck, still smiling.

“You must be delirious,” Zevran said, “or playing with me most cruelly.”

“The former,” Vanastin muttered against his skin. “I don't have the energy to be cruel right now. You almost killed me, Zevran. Do you realize what that means?”

“That you will return the favor once you are well enough?” Vanastin just laughed, started pulling Zevran's collar aside, looking for the flesh beneath with his lips.

“I don't have to pretend,” Vanastin said. “You've demonstrated that you're my equal.”

“No more of this wolfish dominance, then?” Zevran asked, twining a hand in Vanastin's loose hair but keeping an arm around his waist to keep him upright. “What if I have grown fond of it?”

“Shut up,” Vanastin snapped, and Zevran grinned—that was more what he expected. “I want you. And I'm in no shape to fight about it, so--” Zevran's mouth closing over the tip of one pointed ear drew a sharp gasp out of the smaller elf, cutting off whatever else he meant to say.

It was too easy to work Vanastin into heavy gasping breaths, his attempts at a returned carress half forgotten, by drawing his lips down the smaller elf's ear, nipping and nibbling along the way, taking the lobe of Vanastin's ear into his mouth and sucking briefly. Kissing his way across the bottom of Vanastin's vallaslin, Zevran found the other ear and repeated his attentions in reverse, the hand in Vanastin's hair slipping down to tease the first ear with gentle strokes.

When he had wrung every soft sound he could out of these attentions, Zevran slid down along the artery in Vanastin's neck, following his thready pulse down to the hollow of his throat, the dip of his collar bone, tasted all this skin as if it were new. For how often they'd enjoyed one another leisurely, it more or less was new. His hands slid down to Vanastin's hips, passing over bandages with a feather touch, and the trews needed no more than a nudge to come sliding off. With his lips Zevran followed the line of a bandage from Vanastin's shoulder down over his collarbone, caught another one high on his breast, ended up teasing a nipple with his tongue.

That was when Vanastin swayed in his grasp, hands suddenly going to Zevran's shoulders in a shaky grip. Zevran's grip around Vanastin's hips tightened, bruising hard to keep him up, and the smaller elf gasped, “Zev....” Not the nickname, but too breathless to manage his full name.

Straightening, Zevran wrapped his arms around Vanastin and hoisted him up, leaving the trews behind, and he carried the smaller elf, who wrapped his legs around Zevran's waist with a wicked, if dazed, smile, eager hardness rubbing against the leather of Zevran's clothing. It wasn't easy, of course, but the distance was short, and he managed to make the transition smoothly, laying Vanastin down on the bed and then drawing back, sitting between the smaller elf's spread knees. Vanastin gave a little laugh, a strange sound, at the sight of Zevran sitting there, such a delightfully predatory look on his face.

Delirious, indeed, Zevran thought, but running his hands down the inside of Vanastin's thighs found the skin cool, not fevered, and he followed the carress with a line of kisses, trying not to think about how very, very red the blood had been, how good it had felt, and how this submission was likely just some strange side effect of blood loss, that Vanastin would be back to himself soon enough. Zevran wanted to take advantage of the situation, wanted to tie the Warden down while he was willing to let Zevran have his way, and to tease him mercilessly, have him begging for an end in the same breath as he was begging Zevran to keep going. The Warden wasn't well enough for any such antics, though, if his breath was hitching so easily.

When Zevran's mouth finished trailing down his thigh and went lower still, a little nudge spreading Vanastin's legs further and exposing his entrance, Zevran's tongue flicked out against the circle of soft skin and the ring of muscle there, testing, tasting, and Vanastin made a little sound of satisfaction low in his throat. He teased like that for a bit, soft flicks of the tongue making Vanastin squirm with an uncharacteristic lack of restraint, but when he began to lap and press for entrance, tongue just barely wriggling in, Vanastin fully voiced a moan, as lascivious as the ones he'd given under Zevran's hands in Orzammar.

It so surprised Zevran that he stopped for a moment, listening to Vanastin gasp for breath. He repeated the motion again, pressing further this time, and though it wasn't quite as loud Vanastin voiced his pleasure again, making no effort to bite back those sounds at all. Once more, and Zevran drew back, earning a whimper. He sat up, looking down at Vanastin, who had fisted his hands into the sheets, ashen skin flushing with new heat, chest heaving with the effort to draw in enough air. When the pause had lasted long enough Vanastin's dark eyes slitted open to return Zevran's gaze, and he croaked, “What--” He didn't have the breath to finish the question, voice breaking on the gravel in it.

Zevran descended on Vanastin's cock this time, offering that same sort of attention with the smooth seal of his lips, working his tongue against the bottom of Vanastin's hardness. In no time at all Vanastin was coming hard, a harsh gasp half-voiced escaping him at the height of pleasure, and Zevran fancied he heard his name in it.

For a while Zevran nuzzled at Vanastin's hip, waiting for the smaller elf's breathing to calm, watching him carefully from his vantage. This whole occurrence had almost been too strange to believe, and it had him wanting to get away from Vanastin. It was one thing to find the same weakness in each other and to become proper equals,but Vanastin's behavior tonight had been wholly disconcerting. As soon as he thought it safe to leave Vanastin alone, Zevran stood to go.

No,” Vanastin whined, and with some of his usual speed and grace he lashed out, grabbing Zevran's wrist. “Emma lath, stay, please.” He turned to find Vanastin looking at him strangely, dark eyes seeming almost wet, some intense emotion in them.

“Wynne will have my head.” But Zevran was already sitting down on the bed. Vanastin shifted his hand to twine his fingers with Zevran's, and his grip was tight, possessive.

“Don't care. Tell her I threatened you.”

“Have you? Was that a threat?”

“No.” Vanastin all but pouted, or what passed for the stoic Dalish elf, looking away and staunchly refusing to make eye contact again. “But she'll believe it.”

So Zevran stayed until Vanastin was soundly asleep, then slipped away to take care of his own aching need. But it wasn't to thoughts of how Vanastin had seemingly let go, or fantasies of tying the Warden up and making him plead for release. No, Zevran found that he came to the intense look in Vanastin's eyes and the need in his voice when he'd begged the Antivan to stay, and afterwards he somehow felt just as guilty as when he realized he'd nearly killed Vanastin. With a sigh, Zevran threw himself down against his own bed, staring up into the dark.

Vanastin's cruelty had been so much simpler, and Zevran almost longed for it.
dalishstorm: (Default)
Original prompt: Zevran and Grumpy Theron.

...What? That's kind of a kink, right?

At any post-original campaign, pre-Awakening. Either window-ratting post-Archdemon slaying celebratory boning if appropriate, or something hot and heavy to tide them both over before Theron heads out to Vigil's Keep.
-----------------------

Waiting was the worst part.

Not that Vanastin doubted Zevran's skill. Oh, not at all—the Antivan was more than capable. Zevran could take care of himself, and then some, even against these Crow Masters. But this plan? Royally foolish. He'd been unable to sway Zevran from it, though, even after coming to blows over it. Zevran had struck a pose and smirked, said something witty, after an hour and a half of circular logic, then stated that he didn't care. So Vanastin, unable to contain his frustration, had punched the assassin, growled, “I thought we were both over this death wish.”

So they sat the villa on fire to flush out the lesser Crows, while Zevran was somewhere inside having and epic duel with his fourth Crow Master. Now that flames were licking out of the windows Crows came boiling out of every window, door, crack and crevice in the building. Vanastion moved to the edge of his rooftop vantage across the street, and began loosing arrows into them one by one, until the ground outside was littered with Crow bodies and people began looking for his sniping position as a bucket brigade started forming.

Darting away from the roof's edge, Vanastin muttered under his breath again about how this was a stupid, stupid idea, mostly because even Zevran wouldn't last long in the choking smoke of the opulent villa ablaze. He nimbly hopped to the next roof over, this one tile and slightly pitched and poorer footing, but he found a place to brace himself around a chimney and began picking off Crows again. No one else was coming out of the building, but a few Crows were missing—looking for him, no doubt. Which meant Vanastin had to keep an eye out both for Zevran's escape from the building (to clear a path) and for anyone sneaking up.

A little clatter of clay tiles and a muffled Antivan curse, practically in his ear, startled Vanastin, so the next arrow never made it to his string, gripping the shaft right behind the arrow head and wheeling around to jab it into his assailant's eye—he stopped just short, Zevran staring at him in shock, perfectly still.

Mi amore,” Zevran stammered, shaken by the close call but still able to set a finger to the side of Vanastin's arrow and push it away. He was soot and sweat streaked, skin flush with heat and perhaps singed, blood-spattered, and, “we are successful. Shall we make our escape?”

Vanastin quickly stuffed the arrow back into his quiver and worked his free hand under Zevran's baldric to pull the larger elf forward in a rough, desperate kiss, confirming with lips and tongue that yes, he returned, safely. Zevran tasted like smoke, and not a necessarily pleasant one, but it made Vanastin long, briefly, for a different path. He knew that he could never go home to his own clan or any other, but once they were done with the Crows he would insist on visiting the nearest clan, on teaching Zevran that the Dalish way of life had some merit, and perhaps they could find some middle ground, because this city thing was killing Vanastin.

After a dangerously long moment Vanastin let go, pushed Zevran gently away. “Let's go.”
dalishstorm: (Default)
Original prompt: M!Mahariel/Tamlen
--------------------------

It was a clean shot, the arrow taking her in the throat, and she tried to bolt, staggered, fell. As Vanastin approached her head whipped around, dark eyes glittering and large, rolling in the sockets as she looked for her unseen killer. Finding him, she struggled, tried to flee, but her legs betrayed her as surely as her panicked breath betrayed her.

He didn't let her suffer, soothing those last moments with a gentle touch and quiet prayer. For a moment she seemed to understand, in that instant before he ended it quickly as possible, that she would be a life-giver even in death, that though by her age she was certainly past the rearing of fawns she was still plump enough to fill a few bellies, to sustain and supply the roving stewards. So she died quietly, no fear or struggling in that last instant.

"Impressive, for someone who's vallaslin is hardly dry." Vanastin rolled his eyes before glancing over his shoulder to look at Tamlen, who approached with practiced silence otherwise.

"If a year and a half is hardly dry, then you're fit to serve as elder." The jab was light as he could make it in his dark voice, and Tamlen would surely understand.

"I've often thought so myself," Tamlen said, stretching languorously, just a hint of a smirk betraying his words for a jest. "But then I might have to do my own work instead of pushing it off on you."

Standing, Vanastin turned to him, stopped Tamlen with a hand against his chest. "In that case, you can carry her."

The undergrowth in this northern forest was too thick to rightly stalk prey, and they had waited so long for this deer that returning to the aravels would be more prudent than finding a new site and waiting for a second. True darkness was fast approaching, and they'd find little hunting then—best to return at morning twilight.

They'd passed a deep pool from a spring on the way in, and Vanastin stopped here to wash his hands of the kill's blood before it could dry. He would only dirty them again in dressing her, but it was a habit. Tamlen knelt to drop the doe's carcass silently as he could, because this was an opportunity he simply couldn't pass up. He stalked up behind Vanastin, quietly, then shoved him roughly. Vanastin toppled out of his crouch into the water, flipping as he fell and sucking down a lungful of air.

Too absorbed in his laughter, Tamlen didn't notice the deep breath, and Vanastin's descent into the pool kicked up enough mud to obscure him from the surface. Vanastin was a strong swimmer, and he counted on Tamlen's confidence in his abilities. So Vanastin touched bottom, easy in his armor, counted until his lungs had just started to burn, then relaxed, letting himself float back to the surface face-down. Though garbled, he could hear Tamlen's fading laughter. "Quit that. We both know better."

And Tamlen nearly called his bluff, because Vanastin wasn't sure he could hold his breath safely much longer, but a panicked, "Lethallin?" goaded him on. Tamlen splashed into the water, and then there were hands on his shoulders--Vanastin whipped up, taking in another deep breath to ease the ache in his lungs, then put all his weight down on Tamlen to dunk him. When he resurfaced Tamlen sputtered angrily, spitting water, but Vanastin retreated to shallower water to have a good laugh of his own. Pale hair slicked to pale skin, sky-colored eyes glowering, Vanastin couldn't hold back, "You look like a drowned halla," between laughs.

Tamlen joined him in the shallower water, the little waves of his motion lapping at the lower portion of Vanastin's chest, and seized him for a brief, hard kiss. On parting Vanastin asked, "What was that?"

"You know how I feel about your laugh," Tamlen murmured, and he leaned in to kiss his way up Vanastin's jaw, running his lips up the bottom of Vanastin's ear and nibbling at the tip. Vanastin mirrored this motion with his hand, running his fingertips up the bottom of Tamlen's ear and then sliding them into his soaking hair, pushing Tamlen closer as the taller elf descended to kiss at his neck, sucking and biting, but careful not to leave any visible marks.

"Don't tease," Vanastin cautioned. "You know we won't have time to finish this in camp."

"Then we'll make time now," Tamlen growled, biting down a little harder than intended, and Vanastin gasped, arching against him. They made short work of the soaked armor and padding, the motions of disrobing each other familiar, and carefully put everything ashore. By silent agreement they returned the water, an area shallow enough that Tamlen, taller by a few inches, stood more or less exposed, and Vanastin tried to return those intimate gestures, licks and nips of earlier, but Tamlen would have none of it tonight. Tamlen preferred his powerful and confident hunter helpless and quaking with lust before taking him, and toward this end teased and stroked hard, muscular flesh with lips and hands. By the time Tamlen's hand found Vanastin's entrance, the smaller elf was shuddering against him, buried his head in the crook of Tamlen's neck, nodded his assent.

Tamlen lifted him easily, and Vanastin wrapped his legs around Tamlen's waist, bringing Vanastin fully out of the water and supporting him well enough that Tamlen could spare a hand to stretch toward the bank and grope around for the scant pouch of supplies he carried. One of the hunters, originally from another clan, had counseled him on this relationship just after Vanastin's coming of age—and after his cautions on subtlety and secrecy, his advice that the lust of men was unpredictable and to "be prepared, always" was most valuable. As he palmed the purposefully mislabeled bottle of oil from his pack, Tamlen thanked the hunter as fervently as he might the Creators, slicked his fingers, and nearly dropped the bottle, barely retaining the wit to set it aside when Vanastin ground against him. He'd done his job too well, Vanastin too ready and too eager, and such unabashed desire drove him on as well, unable to hold back a little thrust of his own.

So he was a little harsher than he meant to be in preparing Vanastin, a little too eager himself, but Vanastin endured, curling against him once more and kissing Tamlen harshly, all urgency and need. Drawing away, Vanastin worried at his lower lip to stifle any utterance as Tamlen slid yet another finger in, but was unable to contain a whimper—whether in pain or need Tamlen couldn't tell, so he finished as quickly as he could, slicked himself.

"We're alone," Tamlen murmured, and that drew Vanastin's attention back to him. "There's no need to be silent. No one will hear us, and no one will care."

As Tamlen slid in, slowly, giving Vanastin time to adjust, the smaller elf let loose a vehement curse—funny, the parts of their language that survived the ages—and he couldn't help but ask, "Are you alright?"

"You take too long," Vanastin growled. And Tamlen laughed, holding him a little tighter. Moments of intimacy were rare, for fear of being discovered, and this in particular was still new and novel. Though they were often rough with each other, taking out their lust on one another with enthusiasm, the very last thing Tamlen wanted was to hurt Vanastin. Any injury would draw unwelcome questions, and guilt. It was their duty, after all, as young and virile hunters, Vanastin in particular as he was well-regarded within the clan, to find mates and settle down to help strengthen the race. This was seen as a youthful indulgence, to be discouraged in adulthood in favor of duty.

So they both savored this moment, all too aware that as soon as someone questioned their closeness in just the right fashion they had few options, the easiest of which would be what the older hunter and his lover had done—parting ways, leaving for separate clans as if in shame. Every kiss and impassioned exchange was a moment stolen against that inevitable parting, and any moment stolen while with the clan was a risk. Worth it, they had both sworn to each other.

And in moments like this, it was. Vanastin kissed him again, on more equal terms this time, and they set a pace together, trying to find a balance between need for release and need for intimacy. In the end the former won, as Tamlen drew close too soon, Vanastin tight and hot around him, and the quiet sounds of Vanastin's pleasure, normally restrained for fear of prying ears, driving him on. Vanastin matched this new, animalistic rhythm, this driving need, with equal abandon, and Tamlen couldn't resist running a hand down Vanastin's sculpted body to palm his hardness, working it between them roughly. Growling his name, Vanastin nipped just a little too harshly at one ear, but the pain only drove Tamlen on.

In the end, it was more like the rutting of animals than the lovemaking of two mates, Tamlen emptying himself into Vanastin pushing the smaller elf over the edge, Vanastin straining to take more of him in even as Vanastin threw his head back, climaxing with a harsh and throaty gasp, voice breaking. But there was a sweetness in this, too, the promise of playful words and gentle touches later, in the privacy of their own tent at the clan's camp. And a threat of loss, too.

They clung to each other, sweaty and breathless in those moments after, as if it might be their last embrace. It very well could be.

Panacea

Jun. 23rd, 2010 12:45 am
dalishstorm: (Default)
Original prompt: Zevran is the only companion who seems to realize just how stressful the Warden's position is. I'd like Zevran providing support to stressed out Warden.
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Zevran noticed it first on their way back to Orzammar: Vanastin snapped needlessly at Leliana for some comment on the beauty of a lyrium formation. “The sooner you're done gawking, the sooner we can leave this Creators-forsaken hole.” She shut her mouth but scowled at him from behind, and Alistair tried to imitate Vanastin's “angry face” to break the tension. Zevran agreed with them, initially: Vanastin was being foolish and cruel. But he did it more frequently, and even to Zevran. So he began to watch the Warden carefully, looking for signs of some irritant.

He didn't catch it until they were back in Orzammar, Vanastin distant and distracted while speaking to Morrigan, perhaps the only member of the group aside from Zevran that he truly respected. His eyes seemed unfocused, as if unable to maintain attention, and she eventually sneered, “Are you listening at all?”

Vanastin only made a quiet sound of dissatisfaction and turned from her, stalking off, leaving Morrigan standing with her arms akimbo, scowling at his retreating back. She turned to Zevran, asked, “Why do we follow this fool?”

“It is certainly not his pleasant disposition,” Zevran said, and he turned to follow Vanastin.

Zevran caught another clue on their way into the council chambers, as Vanastin hung back from the group while they waited for entrance, leaning his head against a door frame and sighing quietly, eyes closed. No one else seemed to notice, and he looked away before Vanastin caught him staring. They handed over the crown and made Bhelen king with little incident, as Vanastin let Oghren do most of the talking for him.

They were graciously granted quarters in the palace to recover from their excursion into the Deep Roads, and Zevran got his third clue there, walking with Vanastin down the hall to their rooms. He bade the Warden goodnight, and only got an unintelligible murmur from the Warden, who continued down to his own room just around the corner.

Zevran was down to just the leather breeks he wore under this particular set of armor when he heard it, a sound of impact and a rumble of vehement elvish muffled by the stone. He weighed his concern for the Warden against his desire to avoid the Warden's displeasure, and in this case his concern won, driving Zevran out and to the Warden's door, where he knocked.

Expecting nothing more than a tongue lashing from an angry Warden, Zevran hardly schooled his alarm when Vanastin answered the door in relative silence, no more than a glower, half out of his armor and bleeding from a shallow cut on his temple, the area around which was quickly bruising. “Did you need something?” He seemed to be putting most of his weight on where he held the door.

“May I come in?” Immediately, Zevran started trying to fit the clues together, these little snatches of stressors, and none of the conclusions seemed to fit Vanastin's personality.

The Warden made something like a choking noise, an unusual sound of surprise, dismay. “Not tonight, Zevran. Please.”

Holding up a hand, Zevran said, “I only want to speak. It will take no more than a moment of your time.”

Vanastin nodded, opened the door further, and Zevran stepped in, crossing the spacious room to the bed, barely sized for the larger races, and sat on the edge as if he had equal rights to the space. Vanastin lingered at the door as he closed it, eying the distance in long, measuring glances, something akin to fear in his dark eyes.

“Firstly,” Zevran began, “are you well? I heard....” And he gestured, hoping to indicate the small but fierce looking wound.

“I fell,” Vanastin said, words quick, regaining a little of his snappish temper of the past few days. “Damn room wouldn't stay still long enough for me to get out of this... stuff.”

“I see.” Zevran tried to keep his voice calm, tried to imply no emotion at all, in fact, wanted to avoid Vanastin's ire. “May I assist, then?”

Vanastin thought about it for a moment, long enough that Zevran feared the Warden had forgotten his presence or decided to ignore it, but eventually nodded. Zevran took this as leave to return to him at the door and guide him to the bed, placing a steadying hand on Vanastin's shoulder. All usual grace seemed to have fled the Warden for clumsy motions, disoriented, overcompensating for a lack of balance, almost like a man drugged. Zevran saw no other signs of poison, and so assumed he was simply dizzy for some mundane reason. Vanastin ended up standing next to the bed, clutching one side for balance as Zevran's hands danced lightly from buckle to tie and shucked the armor off him. When he indicated that he needed Vanastin to step in order to remove part of the armor, Vanastin lurched dangerously, and Zevran steadied him as he put more weight down on his arms on the bed. Paler now, eyes closed, Vanastin swallowed heavily, looking for all the world like a man about to be sick.

Zevran got him down to his small clothes quickly and sat Vanastin down. While Zevran rifled through Vanastin's pack searching for supplies to clean and wrap the wound, Vanastin drew his legs up onto the bed and curled around himself, setting his elbows on his knees and grinding the heels of his palms into his eyes. His color had yet to return by the time Zevran sat down again, and he was all but shaking.

Nudging Vanastin's head up by grabbing his chin, Zevran set about cleaning the wound, and asked chattily, “Do you have any idea why this happened? The room lying to you in so dastardly a fashion about its orientation, I mean.”

Vanastin glanced at him, jerkily, then away. “I don't understand these shemlen and durgen'len politics. If something must be done, you do it. Personal concerns don't enter into a life and death situation. There is no 'I' when the whole clan is suffering. It should be the same everywhere. This threatening and pleading, these sly word games... they are like laying traps for coy prey. I was never any good with traps.” And his deep voice sounded hollow, ashamed to confess, “The nightmares have been worse underground.”

“Ah.” Zevran began smearing on a little dab of poultice, and the symptoms made sense now. “When was the last time you slept properly?”

“The night before we entered Orzammar.”

It was hard to tell with no night or day, but that was not quite two weeks in Zevran's estimation. “Have you slept at all?”

“I can't recall,” Vanastin said matter-of-factually, almost as if challenging Zevran. “I don't sleep much on the surface, either, but there's no air in this place unless I fight for it, and what if the ceiling falls in? I don't want to die in my sleep. But the dreams, they're vivid down here.... I've seen them in waking hours, too.”

“I have noticed no change in Alistair's behavior,” Zevran said. “Have you asked him why, perhaps, they would effect you more?”

“I already know,” Vanastin snapped. “I almost became one of them—a sharlock, like Tamlen.” He grimaced at the name, but continued. “Or nearly died from the taint—the latter is more likely, from the sickness. I expect the taint is a little more advanced in me.”

“Just how often do you sleep on the surface?”

“When I'm exhausted.”

“And before you became a Grey Warden?”

Scowling, Vanastin growled, “Are you my mother, now? I was regarded by my clan as a hard worker—if one could wake me to begin with.”

Zevran shook his head, smiling faintly, as he finished laying on the bandage. “May I try something to help you rest?”

“No. Leave me be.”

So Zevran gave him no choice, pushing Vanastin down onto the bed before flipping him onto his stomach and pinning him there, kneeling, straddling the backs of his thighs. Vanastin swore, tried to throw him off, but Zevran was stronger even on Vanastin's best day. He leaned in, let his lips brush the tip of Vanastin's ear as he whispered, “You are going to let me help, or I will tell Wynne, and I will personally hold you down while she drugs you.” That stilled the struggling elf, who gave a final curse and fell silent.

Lamenting his lack of proper oils, Zevran started by working his thumbs in little circles across Vanastin's shoulders, testing the stress there. Vanastin's entire body seemed a coil of tension, a spring wound tight, a mass of knots and too-taut muscle. Each knot made Vanastin twitch, tensing for a moment when touched, and when he prodded a particular knot toward the center of Vanastin's back the man beneath him made a pathetic, mewling noise of pain, half-sobbed, “What are you--”

“Shush,” Zevran commanded. “You will understand if you keep that sharp tongue still for a few moments.”

When he started to work in earnest, carefully working down the back of Vanastin's neck and to his shoulders in slow, methodical strokes, Vanastin's little cries and gasps of pain quickly fell to silence. Once Zevran reached his right shoulder Vanastin gave his first gasp of pleasure as Zevran's hands stroked and kneaded the muscle into some semblance of order. It would take several sessions over at least a week to right Vanastin's tension, but this first attempt would have a dramatic enough effect. Soon enough Zevran had the smaller man writhing beneath him, tension melting away under the former Crow's skilled hands, Vanastin moaning like an overly dramatic whore. Hearing such lascivious sounds out of a man who was all but silent during sex hardened Zevran quickly, and he could only imagine it was having a similar effect on Vanastin.

But those open-mouthed sounds of pleasure faded quickly enough to soft murmurs, and by the time Zevran was done Vanastin was asleep beneath him. It was no great loss, Zevran decided, if he had to pleasure himself while the Warden got his first real rest in two weeks, but when Zevran dismounted and his weight left the bed, a slender hand wrapped around his wrist, quick as a snake's strike. He turned to find Vanastin staring up, dark eyes hardly visible through the faintest slits.

“Lethallin. Ma serrennas.” Then he tugged, made a pouting frown when Zevran didn't sit back down immediately. “Stay. You chase the dreams away.”

Confused and pleased, Zevran sat back down, and Vanastin rolled onto his side, curling up and falling asleep immediately. Zevran wondered if he would remember those words in the morning, or anything that had passed between them. And then he decided it didn't matter.

Another glimpse of the Dalish hunter, the man Vanastin had been before becoming the Warden, was well worth any impending anger.

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?
-----------------------

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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January 2013

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