Comfort

Mar. 28th, 2011 04:16 am
dalishstorm: (Default)
I had to fill this one:

M!Hawke/Fenris - Blood magic mind control, H/C
I recall reading that one DA:O prompt of Zev being controlled by a blood mage and having to hurt the warden.

How about one with it happening to Fenris and he badly injures M!Hawke?

I don't mind if smut follows or if it doesn't happen at all. No class preference but I think a mage!Hawke would make it pretty ironic.


Comfort )
dalishstorm: (Default)
More Fenris/M!MageHawke, spoilers for Act 2 up through the end.

Drowning Sorrows )
dalishstorm: (Cadryn Amell)
Zevran is cold. The Warden decides to help him warm up by sharing body heat. Whether the Warden's intentions are plantonic or he's using it as a flimsy excuse to sex Zev is entirely up to you, anon.
...And yes, I did say 'he'. Not fussy on what the Warden is, just on the fact that he's male. Any takers?
--------
Zevran felt foolish, bundled up as he was in borrowed winter gear, a piece here and a piece there from others amongst their little group, but he'd learned his lesson on the way up. The scarf and the coat were Cadryn's, at least, which meant the coat was too long but comfortably so (it helped cut the wind) and wide enough that Zevran could probably wear his armor underneath. And he felt no guilt over taking such things from the Warden—Cadryn had gone out of his way to make it very clear there would be no arguing.

They walked single file, Sten in front and breaking a path through the deep, fresh snow. On top it was a finger's depth of fine, soft powder, and beneath that an old crust and heavy packed snow. They were foolish, of course, for traveling up into the Frostbacks so close to winter, and had taken too long in the Deep Roads. Zevran took up the rear, behind Wynne and Oghren, chiefly because the Warden had confided in him that he didn't trust the dwarf to be sober enough to hold his place in a fight, and partly because, well, he felt ridiculous, dressed as he was and still cold, and didn't want to feel the eyes of the others upon him. Vanity, but necessary in his mind.

The deep snow slowed their progress and as afternoon drew on the wind picked up. With nowhere near to make camp they had to press on, until the wind howled like like hungry wolves and the soft snow bit at exposed skin like fairy-sized knives, and when he reached out to grab the back of Oghren's coat Zevran lost sight of his own hand in the swirling wall of white.

And after a few more steps he even lost Sten's path, finding only knee-deep snow. Zevran knew nothing about cold weather, only that he needed to find shelter from the wind and should likely wait for the others to find him.

He found a fair-sized boulder to huddle behind, scooping out the snow when it swirled around the sides and threatened to bury him, and heard only that terrible howling in the wind, starving wolves—darkness drew on, white snow turning gray with the failing light, and Zevran was suddenly young again, maybe twelve at the oldest, huddling soaked and alone in the forest while he looked for the Dalish, wolves howling in the distance, tired to death but too frightened to sleep.

Warm hands sliding in under the hood of Cadryn's coat to cup his face, fingers at his throat feeling for a pulse, woke him from either a doze or a daze. Zevran groped for a dagger, but his fingers were too stiff, curled into his armpits for warmth as they'd been for—well, he wasn't sure how long. It was full dark, and the wind still howled.

“It's just me.” Zevran couldn't see him in the dark, but he knew Cadryn's voice, rich and deep and this close carrying over the wind. “Let's get you somewhere warm.”

Cadryn helped Zevran up to his feet, but the assassin had clearly been sitting too long, and his knees simply buckled. Zevran still had enough wits about him to feel doubly foolish when Cadryn hauled him up, insubstantial for a moment, and carried the smaller man against his side, like an adult might a child. But it meant that Cadryn's body was sheltering him from the worst of the wind, and he shamelessly snuggled into the warmth, burying his face against Cadryn's neck.

He was only dimly aware of Cassius joining them, leaping through the snow as if he were having the time of his life, stopping only occasionally to sniff the air. At some point Cadryn spoke to him, but he couldn't hear over the wind now, and was honestly too tired to care now that he had some measure of safety and warmth. Foolish, by his training, but a deeper instinct spoke now. Zevran decided to struggle against his weariness to try and keep from being too much of a burden, but knew the Warden would take care of him.

“Looks like Cassius has found us something closer,” Zevran caught, and the Warden shifted his hold, insubstantial again for a moment while he opened a door with his other shoulder, breaking the wood around the lock and swinging the door open violently. Snow blew in around them in a great gust, and Cadryn had to lean his weight against the door to shut it against the wind. Cassius followed suit, winding in around Cadryn's legs to push himself against it, long enough for Cadryn to set Zevran aside and brace the door with some heavy piece of furniture. Now that they were out of the white-out Zevran could see the little spell wisp hovering over Cadryn's shoulder, and the ghostly green light cast across the room only made it seem colder.

He drifted for a little while, left sitting against a wall, finally shivering again and just noticing that the snow had soaked through the thick leather of Cadryn's coat. Cadryn left him there, the spell wisp following and illuminating the little hovel in small sections. The wind rattled through stout shutters somewhere, whistled through a chimney, but the howling was distant, locked outside. While Cadryn went searching for something, Cassius pushed himself up next to Zevran, laying his head in Zevran's lap, hot breath and the warmth of the mabari's body overwhelming Zevran's revulsion at the smell—Zevran embraced him, and Cassius nuzzled at Zevran's cheek. The hound's nose seemed warm to his skin, and Zevran laughed weakly at the realization.

When Cadryn returned Zevran just looked up at him, trying to smile through the daze, blinking slowly and just now realizing ice caught in his eyelashes had melted, and the eerie light of Cadryn's spell wisp made the drops sparkle like jewels. Then Cadryn was stripping him, taking away his precious collected heat, and Zevran cried out, trying to push him away and failing miserably, ended up holding onto Cadryn's shoulders with a tight grip once the man stood him up and shucked off his lower layers. Then he wrapped Zevran in a dry quilt, musty from a long storage but relatively clean and quite dry. The closeness of the fabric was a comfort, but the scratch against his skin as it came alive again was unwelcome. It kept him aware long enough to mutter, “The others...?”

From Cadryn's look of consideration, it took a moment to reason out what Zevran had said. “I left them somewhere safe, in Morrigan's care. Well, safe provided they don't come looking for us.”

After three tries Cadryn managed to light the wood stacked in the small fireplace, which Zevran hadn't seen him place. The flames caught Zevran's eye, and he lost himself again for a moment in the crackle and dance. Cadryn came back, this time nude, and he laid their wet clothes out to dry, then made a little palate in front of the fire from extra bedding. Still the mage had to help him move, but they slid into the blankets together, facing the hearth. Cadryn curled around him, embracing him loosely but perfectly spooned up against his back, and the press of that familiar flesh was just as comforting as the warmth.

When Zevran started shivering in earnest it was exhausting, and he started to drift in and out between bouts, trying to curl up but Cadryn wouldn't let him. He just kept Zevran's head cushioned on one arm, nuzzled at the back of his neck, kissed him softly and caressed him when the tremors grew more violent and somehow more frightening than when he'd been convinced he was back in the woods as a child. “You'll be fine, Zev. I won't let anything happen to you.”

Zevran clenched his teeth to keep from whimpering again, but shortly after at the height of his shivering struck Cadryn in the chin hard enough that the mage's teeth clacked together, and he made a little sound of surprise and discomfort before laughing it off. As the shivering subsided Cadryn curled around him again, enfolding Zevran in his arms, and Zevran burrowed back into the larger man's embrace, listening to his breathing and the crackling fire and the mabari's soft snores instead of the howling wind outside.

These wolves the Warden wouldn't let in, and Zevran was safe in his arms. Zevran finally drifted to sleep, exhausted and cold but warming.

For his part, Cadryn did his best to ignore his own growing hardness at the elf's little comfort-seeking motions rubbing against him, and laid a gentle kiss in Zevran's hair. I'm sure you'll pay me back for this tenfold when you're well. Because the inappropriateness of such a reaction in this situation did nothing to lessen the smell of Zevran filling his nostrils, leather and exotic spice and musk, or the feel of that muscular body pressed against him, the hard plane of Zevran's abs under one hand, the dance of firelight across his golden skin-- Cadryn had to close his eyes, to settle his hand on Zevran's hip, and do his best to tune out the other sensations.
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: (Cadryn Amell)
"You know, I think this one is my favorite."

"Mmm, yes, they should make a book of it--"

The Warden had tromped up behind Zevran and Leliana as they were examining a bill posted to a signboard just inside the Gnawed Noble, and was looming over them, reading over their shoulders, and had just gotten to the part of, he slipped the loose robe from her shoulder in a smooth, caressing motion, lips trailing a line of heat after, and the Witch sighed, "Oh, Warden!"

"Andraste's bloodied rags, what's this drivel?" Lunging forward, face red (in embarrassment or anger no one could say), he tore the bill violently from the nail holding it in, and as he read the thing grew increasingly flushed. Zevran and Leliana watched in mild amusement and mild worry--they feared not for their safety, but the Warden could certainly make life unpleasant if he was displeased with either of them.

When he finished he balled the paper up and tossed it to one side, with a sharp, "Fetch." The mabari leaped up to catch the paper in his jaws, and happily chomped down the offending story. "If you see any more," he jabbed a finger at them accusingly, "tell me."

They remained motionless as he stomped away, the mabari scampering at his side, and once he was well out of earshot exchange another sly look.

"Should we tell him--"

"--that it's Oghren? I think not."
dalishstorm: (Cadryn Amell)
"I do not understand. Is this some sort of Fereldan custom?"

Leliana looked up at the Qunari warrior in a sidelong fashion, uncertain of how to explain it. "Well, when a person is overcome with emotion, sometimes they act it out in strange ways. Don't Qunari ever feel so strongly?"

"No. Ours is a way of discipline." He neither scowled nor smiled, betrayed no emotion at all, as usual, but gestured to where the petite elven Warden was dancing her way merrily in a circle around the fire, her mabari following her with leaps and spins and happy yips. "I confess curiosity. What has excited her so?"

"Ah, well," Leliana, blushed, looking down, clasping her hands just beneath her bosom and worrying them slightly. "It is embarrassing. I will only tell you quietly."

Sten leaned down, and Leliana went up on her tiptoes to whisper into the giant's ear. "Last night," she said, voice going every quieter, "we--" Whatever else she said was lost over the hound's happy noises, but Sten blushed furiously, and Leliana would later swear she saw the corner of his mouth twitch up.

Black Silk

Jul. 26th, 2010 02:54 am
dalishstorm: (Default)
Not a prompt response, but relevant to future ones.

Pirate Neirin, yarr! I can see it now.

-----------
Zevran found himself standing at Neirin's open door, grip so tight around the earring that the hard edges and the stud were driving painfully into his palm, but he had no words and no strength to move forward, to make himself known, lost himself in thought.

There'd been no time for anything, really, between Neirin's “recovery” and the Landsmeet. Of course, it wasn't so much a recovery as Neirin being functional again, able to finish all they needed before the Landsmeet in a flurry of action. He still tired quickly, had trouble breathing under stress physical or otherwise, and his eye.... Well, they had used the injury to their advantage, because the Warden had looked broken, that dark silk patch covering his eye, stark against his pale and still bruised skin, and it had made the nobles whisper behind their hands. Neirin, for his part, had borne their stares stoically. It was not a badge of honor, standing there in the Landsmeet chamber, but it was a mark of Loghain's cruelty and madness, and Neirin's triumph.

They were about to leave for Redcliffe, and Zevran had thought to give Neirin the earring now, as they'd discussed. Instead he stood in the door, lips thin and jaw tight, watching Neirin shrug into his robes with short, jerky movements that indicated pain, quick, harsh breaths, the blue fabric sliding over pale skin it complimented so well and deep bruises only half faded. You have been through worse, as has he, was no comfort at all. Comparing it to his own experience made it no easier for Neirin to bear, nor any easier for Zevran to watch.

It was when he came to the patch that Zevran burst into action, moving swiftly, fluidly to the mage's side, covering the hand that held the patch to untangle its straps in his own, closing a fist over Neirin's, the earring trapped there as well now. Neirin startled, looked up at him in surprise, then smiled. “Zevran.”

Zevran said nothing, running his free hand down Neirin's jaw to his chin to tip his head up slightly, then brushed unbound pale hair away from Neirin's face.

The area beneath Neirin's injured eye was still dark with the remainder of a mostly-healed bruise, but the swelling was gone now. They had not spoken of it, and had very little privacy, so Zevran had purposefully avoided looking at it. Now they were no more than a breath apart, Neirin's face tilted up to look at him questioningly, and Zevran could examine it and satisfy all his fears.

“Zevran?” Less certain, this time, but Zevran was afraid to say anything yet, too lost in what had once been a perfect, soulful blue eye, now cloudy and glazed. It seemed to track his motions, but Zevran assumed that was habit, associated with the fact that Neirin's other eye was fine.

“Can you see at all with it?” Zevran asked, voice quiet, almost as if afraid of his question and afraid of the answer—for speaking a thing made it more real.

“A little,” Neirin breathed, equally quiet. “Vague shapes and colors. You're distinctive, so I can tell who you are when you're this close, but I can't make you out at all. Just colors and shapes.”

Zevran ran his hand up the side of Neirin's face, so close to the eye that the smaller elf blinked reflexively, and Zevran darted in to lay a kiss on his closed eyelid, soft, and he let it linger when Neirin didn't protest. When he drew back Zevran whispered, “I would have you whole if I could, but I do not find you wanting, like this.”

Smiling playfully, Neirin finally drew his hand out of Zevran's, started untangling the straps of the patch. “Leliana says it makes me look distinguished.” Zevran took the patch from him and Neirin held it in place with one hand while Zevran all but embraced him to tie it on, careful of Neirin's loose hair. “I think it makes me look like a pirate. What do you say to us joining Isabella's crew when this is all said and done?”

“If that is your desire,” Zevran said, forcing a neutral expression and a considerate tone. “I have no need of plunder, though.”

“Says the man who salivates at the sight of unworked precious metals.”

Leaning back to observe his work, Zevran found the dark eye patch even more startling than the injured eye, as usual, because it stood out so very stark against Neirin's pale complexion. But he was smiling brightly, more life in him than Zevran could recall having seen in their entire journey. “I have all the treasure I could ever desire right here: spun gold,” he rain a hand through Neirin's hair, “sapphire,” his thumb under Neirin's good eye, “ivory...” trailed that same hand down Neirin's face and neck to rest on his shoulder.

“You're shameless,” but Neirin's voice was colored as the soft blush that spread over his cheeks. “Now, where's that earring?”

Fantasy

Jul. 5th, 2010 04:46 pm
dalishstorm: (Cadryn Amell)
Original prompt: your Warden/anyone

Inspired by a few comments that I read earlier, I want to see fics involving the writer's own favorite Warden with all their quirks and flaws doing whatever with their lover of choice. Should be easy, yeah?
--------------


All I ever wanted was to
Feel like I had done something with my life
All I found was you

Read more... )

Misfire #1

Jun. 23rd, 2010 01:57 am
dalishstorm: (Zevran)
"'Twas an accident of sorts." Morrigan nodded slightly for emphasis, and spoke as if this were perfectly normal conversation for adults to have. "I am a mage, you see, and these things do happen when one is sufficiently... distracted, shall we say."

"Maker's breath." Alistair had already flushed to the very tips of his ears, which was honestly the only reason she'd given so much detail in the first place. He couldn't very well run away at the moment, and seeing him blushing and shaking so was worth Zevran's leer across the fire and Leliana's barely-contained giggles.

Aedan, standing behind Morrigan's shoulder with arms crossed, smiled, gave a soft snort of a laugh and a little roll of one shoulder. "What can I say? It's a talent, the effect I have on women."

"I must admit, my Grey Warden, this is something even I cannot claim. To have a mage so thoroughly enraptured she loses control and incinerates her own underthings?" Zevran leaned forward, grinning, and with a flick of his eyes to Alistair was clearly enjoying the not-quite-Templar's discomfort as well. "I scarcely believe what I have heard. I believe a demonstration is in order."

Aedan quirked an eyebrow at that, raised his chin in Zevran's direction, as if acknowledging a challenge. Looking down to his lover, he asked, "Morrigan?"

"I would most certainly not object to a repeat performance. And an appreciative audience could be most enjoyable."
dalishstorm: (Cadryn Amell)
Original prompt: Any pairing, preferably slash

Two lovers are in their tent, totally hot for each other, but taking off all that armor proves very difficult and unsexy. By the time they actually get naked the mood has been killed, and they end up just chilling and discussing darkspawn killing techniques or something.
--------------------

Their first moments of privacy in more than a week came when Bhelen offered them rooms in the palace to recover from their trek through the Deep Roads. Indeed, they hadn't even paused to rest, but gone straight to the council with Caridin's crown and their choice. They were standing in an otherwise empty hall outside the room meant for the Warden, hesitating, uncertain of what to do—torn between going their separate ways for much-needed rest or taking advantage of the situation.

Cadryn came to a decision first, and when Zevran opened his mouth to bid the Warden goodnight Cadryn covered it with his own, an almost forceful, lust-driven kiss. Not hard and bruising or claiming, but certainly stronger than the Warden's usual tender manner. Now, when Cadryn gripped his shoulders and pressed him against the wall, that was truly surprising, and Cadryn trailing one hand down to grip his hip, fingers twitching in a grip just hard enough to really feel it through the leather armor, pulled a lusty gasp from Zevran's throat, a sound half-voiced into the kiss. Zevran almost forgot to respond, shocked by the normally reserved Warden's unabashed desire.

When he did, it was to return the kiss with equal fervor, to gather together a handful each of the Warden's robes where they were tighter across the chest, pulling him closer. Cadryn obliged with a little grunt, and ended up having to bend his knees slightly to maintain the kiss, one of them ended up sliding between Zevran's thighs, and Cadryn had to shift his off hand from Zevran's shoulder to the wall in order to take his weight and maintain balance. The position was doubly awkward between the restrictive cut of Cadryn's robes and Zevran's now cumbersome armor, so Cadryn pulled away, whispered in Zevran's ear, “I want you,” hot breath making Zevran strain toward the promise of his touch imperceptibly. And just who was supposed to be the master of seduction here?

The belts of Zevran's baldric fell away as soon as they were through the door, weapons cast aside with less care than they deserved, and the belts at Cadryn's waist and the harness for his staff met a similar fate, clattering down in a heap. They didn't make it far from the door before Zevran caught Cadryn's face between his hands, pulled him down for another kiss, teasing the Warden's bottom lip with a gentle, sucking and biting playfully as if a promise of things to come. It earned an appreciative sound out of the man, who tangled a hand in Zevran's hair for a moment before he went searching for all the little buckles and ties to Zevran's armor.

They'd been in the Deep Roads for nearly a week, beset on all sides by Darkspawn and smaller, more annoying creatures, hardly able to sleep properly, and there had been precious little time to care for his armor properly. So the first buckle took two hands, the leather creaking under new stress. Zevran peeled back the collar of Cadryn's robe and ran his fingers across the sensitive flesh there at the base of the human's throat before attacking it, teasing in the same fashion as he had the man's lips. He took Cadryn's behavior as leave to be a little rougher than usual, made an effort to leave a little mark that would just be visible over the edge of the collar.


Cadryn swore when the next buckle finally gave, then muttered with no small amount of dark humor, “You know, your armor is covered in a very fine layer of lyrium dust. Like you rolled in it.”

Pulling away to nuzzle at the growing mark on Cadryn's skin, Zevran asked, “Should that concern me?”

“It's not enough to worry about.” And he swore again as a tie finally parted, then moved on to another buckle. Zevran's hands wandered down to the lacing on Cadryn's robe and began working at the knots, found the knots tight and the lacing hard and slick, as if worn by overuse. It took more attention than he would've liked, and eventually all of his attention, until the two of them were standing there in frustration and waning lust, picking and tugging at the infuriating impediments to taking their desire out on one another. Cadryn swore again, something colorful involving Andraste's mother, and the fabric and flesh beneath Zevran's fingers flickered momentarily, fading to insubstantial mist, and Zevran felt part of himself pulled along as Cadryn slipped half into the Fade to exert his real strength against an exceptionally stubborn buckle.

Cadryn succeeded first, though Zevran playfully told him, “Using magic is cheating,” trying to lighten the foul mood growing between them.

“I'd do worse things to get you out of this stuff faster,” Cadryn growled, and the last buckle came loose, Cadryn carefully pulling the armor away, which left Zevran in the padding underneath. Cadryn made an exasperated noise, somewhere low in his throat. “And I was just getting excited.”

Finally giving in, Zevran stepped away from the mage, shucking out of the padding and his small clothes as he retrieved a dagger. “This seems the only way, my friend.”

“I'm beyond caring any more,” and Cadryn held out his arms low to the sides, exposing the complex lacing. Zevran split the ties easily with the dagger, which clattered to the floor in favor of running his hands over the faintly golden skin revealed as he pushed the robes away.

They tumbled into the bed, a flurry of kisses and nips, enthusiasm renewed, but each carried a sluggishness to his motions, a weariness. An nothing, it seemed, could fully restore either of them to hardness, too worn and weary by this point.

So they abandoned mutual pleasure by unspoken agreement, simply stared at each other for a moment, each with his head propped against the others thigh (and how lovely this would have been, Zevran thought, to catch snatches and glimpses of Cadryn eagerly working him with his mouth as Zevran did the same).

“I hate this place,” Cadryn eventually said.

“Agreed. Let us never return, if we can help it.”

Nuzzling at the flesh of Zevran's inner thigh, laying a delicate kiss with the faintest swirl of his tongue, got an appreciative moan, a twitch, but nothing else, so Cadryn said, “In the morning.”

“Yes. In the morning.”

Passing the night in each others arms was well enough, at least, and Zevran was too tired to even to worry over the implications of his growing regard for the Warden, as usually happened with such intimacy.


~*~
Zevran stretched languidly, reveling in the relief, the intense sense of comfort from a good night's sleep (he slept better in Cadryn's arms than he'd ever slept, which was still disconcerting) and shared release with an eager lover. He didn't allow himself these indulgences much, this wallowing in the afterglow, but Zevran felt he'd earned it, and his eyes slid over Cadryn's form approvingly as the man's weight slipped from the bed.

He could get used to this, quite easily.

When Cadryn swore, Zevran sat up, propping himself up on his elbows to see the mage standing with his robes in hand, plucking the shredded laces out.

"I didn't bring a spare," the Warden announced, "and am an idiot."
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.”

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.
---------------------------

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.

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January 2013

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