Original prompt: Zevran/Mage!PC awkward vanilla sex
PC was abused in the Tower (can be by either/both mages and Templars) and this is his/her first experience with sex that is remotely consensual/normal.
The Warden was a maddening creature. Sleek, confident, with a presence that more than made up for his race and size and apparent frailty. No one seemed to notice his ears, or to truly look down on him as soon as he began speaking in his rich tenor. They saw only mage, and Grey Warden. He was commanding, handsome even in his delicate build, intelligent and quick-witted. And maddening, because nothing Zevran said or did could perturb him like the other companions. Neirin responded to every flirtation and barb with his own sharp tongue, always smiling.
And sympathetic. He asked all the right questions to work his way under Zevran's defenses, listened to every word with a soft smile and gentle understanding, never pity. Just once, Zevran wanted him to react in some other fashion, be openly disgusted or to laugh in Zevran's face at his weakness so that Neirin would seem normal by Zevran's standards, but it never happened.
Neirin sat with him on watches sometimes, and tonight was such a night. Their easy banter had fallen to a comfortable silence, Neirin staring into the fire with a faint, amused smile lingering from some joke or other Zevran could no longer really remember. Firelight made the sweeping tattoo across Neirin's face dance, gave his pale skin a little more color, turned his vivid blue eyes a strange shade and honeyed his light hair. Like this the Warden seemed more mortal, more approachable, and a little spark of lust tinged these strange emotions, made Zevran decide it was the right time.
Settling a hand on Neirin's shoulder, Zevran noted briefly the surprised flinch, but Neirin turned as he'd hoped. “Zev?”
Zevran didn't hesitate, leaning across the distance to kiss him, the hand on Neirin's shoulder sliding down to trace the fine muscles of his arm. When Neirin stiffened, uncertain, Zevran tightened his grip just a little, made this kiss more urgent, trying to more properly demonstrate his desire for the Warden. Neirin's lips parted to allow him entrance, so Zevran deepened the kiss, I will show you what you do to me, I must make you understand, must know if you feel the same--
But Neirin was suddenly fighting, pushing him away, and Zevran had to let go. Neirin stood abruptly, backing away, pale as fresh linen and shaking, eyes wide and lost. The mage tried to speak, mouth working around the words, but no sound came except, “You—I--”
And he bolted like a terrified halla, gone so quickly that Zevran wondered for an instant if he'd been there at all, sitting by the fire and trading witty little barbs and snatches of armchair philosophy all night.
The next day Neirin behaved normally, but Zevran was beginning to put together the pieces. Neirin was oh so careful about avoiding physical contact, even when injured, but subtle about it, so subtle even Zevran only noticed it in hindsight. Any serious discussion of physical intimacy shut him up almost immediately. And Zevran could not recall seeing the mage even partially nude, which struck him as very odd for so confident a man, and for their situation.
He didn't like the scenario this was forming one bit, so when he cornered the elder mage during their travels Zevran asked, “My dear Wynne, I have a question, if I may.”
Scowling down her nose at him, clearly expecting some trap, she said, “So long as it does not involve my bosom, I suppose I may attempt to answer.”
“Our Warden,” Zevran said, nodding to the elf, who was having some heated discussion with Morrigan at the head of their column, Alistair at his other side looking distinctly bored, “did he have many lovers in the Tower?”
“None that I am aware of,” Wynne said. “But he was always a quiet, bookish thing, painfully shy. I don't know where he found all this confidence, but it makes me happy to see him so full of life.”
Which told him very little, really, neither confirming nor denying his suspicions. And they were suspicions Zevran was loathe to test. So things continued as if nothing had happened at all, until Zevran made his proposition one night.
Neirin's smile slipped away when he asked, “Are you saying what I think you're saying?”
“If you are asking if it will go beyond a massage, well, let's just say you won't be disappointed with any of the techniques I've picked up over the years.” Zevran punctuated the line with a grin, realizing it wasn't his wittiest ever, but he felt it would serve best here.
“No.” Immediate, and Neirin seemed pale again, eyes dark. “This can't happen. Ever.”
For the next few days Neirin seemed a little more quarrelsome, and all their companions shot nasty glares at Zevran, making assumptions that he did nothing to discourage. But Zevran was frustrated with the other elf, confused, uncertain about what he should do or how he should behave now that he'd been rejected and Neirin seemed distant.
Oddly enough, it was Shale who broke the silence between them. “It seems the Painted Elf seeks the attentions of the Grey Warden.”
Unable to contain a grin, Zevran glanced at Neirin leading them, that heavy braid swaying as he walked, the staff across his back all but dwarfing the small man, and marveled for a moment at the contradiction he presented—larger than life, a walking myth, and a puzzle Zevran was determined to figure out. “Indeed he does,” Zevran quipped, smiling foolishly. The thought of Neirin did weird things to him, uncomfortable emotional things, but try as he might he couldn't contain it sometimes.
Some of the swagger came back into Neirin's step after that conversation, and everything fell back into place. Awkward at first, but soon they were spending their watches by the fire together again in easy company. Zevran didn't press the matter, though it was to thoughts of Neirin he satisfied himself in the lonely hours of the night.
After meeting Ignacio in Denerim, telling Neirin about Rinna was a risk he had to take. The man was already skittish in matters of intimacy, and if Taliesen should suddenly appear as Ignacio implied he might, the other Crow's very presence might ruin what little progress they had made. It was a small thing, a silly thing to care about, but Neirin didn't shirk from a simple hand on his forearm, or from careless touches, any more, and at least it was something. It was more than the mage allowed anyone else.
And Neirin listened to him in the firelight with his usual understanding, taking Zevran's story in quietly, only prompting or asking questions when it seemed necessary. At the end Neirin said, “Thank you for trusting me with this, Zevran.”
They sat in silence for a little while before Neirin spoke, facing the fire. “I suppose I owe you something in return.”
“You owe me nothing, my dear Grey Warden.”
“An explanation,” Neirin continued as if Zevran hadn't spoken at all. “I've been cruel to you, in a way. You should know... I do want you. You're the first person to elicit such a response in me. Ever. I had thought that part of my heart and body long dead, buried for my own safety. But here you are.”
The other elf silenced him by holding up one slender hand, then lowering it to grasp Zevran's near hand, twining their fingers together. Zevran had never realized quite how thin and fragile the bones seemed. Still, though, Neirin stared into the fire, refusing, unable to look at him. “I was caught reading some forbidden tomes by an older apprentice when I was about thirteen—I don't know my exact age, so I can't say for certain. She promised to keep silent if I served her around my lessons. So I did. At first it was simple things, doing research for her, chores, all the minutia someone about to become a full Circle Mage would find tedious. After her Harrowing, the tasks became more illicit, more dangerous... she was involved in lyrium trade with the Templars, one of the dealers for them, and had me conduct the more dangerous parts of the transactions. I didn't go to anyone because I was terrified of her—she manufactured some proof against me as a blood mage, and used it to keep me in her service. Of course, if I'd known any blood magic, I would've used it to free myself from her grasp.”
Neirin grew quiet for a moment, and his grip tightened almost painfully in Zevran's hand. But Zevran said nothing—he had suspicions about where this was going, and the look in Neirin's eyes told him for lost again.
“She started offering me for favors. I was young, but I looked younger, because I was so small. At first, just other mages, and it was bad, but it wasn't—it wasn't like the Templars. The mages, they just wanted someone smooth-skinned and young. The Templars wanted a mage to punish.” Neirin's voice grew quiet and dark, thick with emotion, and Zevran caught sight of a few tears glittering in the firelight. I have been somewhere similar, he wanted to say, but he didn't dare speak or move, afraid of startling Neirin. “I was more afraid of being labeled a blood mage, though. I was more afraid of losing my place in the Circle. I wasn't afraid of dying, but I was terrified of being thrown out, of going to Aeonar or being made Tranquil. My body wasn't my own, but at least my mind was, and at least I could still feel. Not that the thought of becoming Tranquil wasn't tempting at times. I almost went to Irving to beg for it once, but she made sure I couldn't get away. It stopped when I made friends with Jowan. She tried to get rid of him, but she couldn't shake him, and that meant someone was around to wonder where I was at night, someone who was close enough that I couldn't hide the injuries from them.”
Silence fell between them again, just the crackling fire and the night sounds and the pressure of Neirin's hand. When Neirin finally turned to look at Zevran, he was smiling through silent tears. “I've never told anyone, because I was ashamed. I've always thought, if I had been stronger, it would never have happened. That it was my fault, somehow. I know... I know that similar things must have happened to you in your life, and here you are, strong and more or less whole in spite of it. That gives me hope. Thank you, for listening.”
“Thank you,” Zevran said, giving Neirin's hand a little squeeze back, “for your trust. I understand why you would be hesitant, and I will ask no more of you than you are willing to give.”
“That's just it, Zevran. I'm tired of this. Of being afraid every time you touch me, of being unable to—to even--Maker, I can't even talk about it.” Neirin covered his face with his free hand, groaning out his frustration. “I can't even touch myself without seizing up. Do you know what that's like? Andraste's Ass, I'm a man, and men have urges, but it feels so wrong. I want you. I want you to help me.” The hand over his face fell to his lap.
Zevran let his voice slink a little deeper, let his words roll out seductive, “What do you desire of me?”
When Neirin shuddered this time, it didn't seem to be in fear or revulsion. “I want you to—to make love to me.” As he said it Neirin grimaced, as if the words were distasteful. “I know I'm not supposed to feel this way about it. I want you to show me why. Tonight. I can't take this any more.”
And now Zevran's mind was racing. He wasn't sure how to deal with someone so clearly damaged, not in bed, at least. No one had ever extended him any gentleness or concern in such matters, but certainly he had made love in a romantic sense to marks before. “Leliana should be taking over for us soon,” Zevran said. “Until then, would you permit me to hold you?”
Momentarily Neirin stiffened, almost pulling his hand away, before relaxing and hesitantly leaning into Zevran. Zevran disentangled their fingers and wrapped an arm around Neirin's shoulders, taking that near hand up again with his other and stroking the back of it soothingly. After a while of this Neirin sighed, relaxed further into him, even going so far as to bury his face in the crook of Zevran's neck, nuzzling him experimentally. The Warden's motions were still awkward and jerky, but it seemed more our of unfamiliarity than fear.
When Leliana came to relieve them Zevran had abandoned Neirin's hand to make the same sort of motions along one thigh, and Neirin had looped an arm around his lower back. He was growing more comfortable with simple touch, but Zevran doubted the elf could go all the way, so to speak, in one night. But they would certainly try.
Leliana's only comment was a soft smile, a knowing glance to Zevran—he trusted she'd be discrete about this, so as not to embarrass the Warden later. So Zevran led him away to the Warden's own tent, stopping briefly for a most necessary item. Neirin didn't question.
He didn't encourage Neirin to lay back, but instead had the man stay on his knees once in the tent, standing before him in a like stance, kissing and caressing softly. Neirin fumbled to return the touches, but that effort alone pleased Zevran. He had expected many things from the Warden, but not trust like this. It became harder and harder to ignore his growing regard for the Warden, knowing now that it was almost certainly reciprocated.
That made it easier to be sweet and gentle, things he wasn't used to. Of course, Neirin was a terrible kisser, and Zevran wondered briefly if he'd ever been kissed at all, but it didn't really matter all that much. Zevran was more interested in instilling enough desire in Neirin that he could maybe forget for a moment, to make him feel wanted. Laying a trail of kisses up Neirin's neck, pausing to murmur, “I have desired you since my first night with the group,” catching the lobe of the other elf's ear between his teeth and softly nibbling his way up, caused Neirin to gasp and push against him, shuddering violently, and then to make a little choking sound. Zevran pulled away to find silent tears again, Neirin's eyes wide with some unreadable emotion.
“Do you want me to stop?” Zevran asked, cupping Neirin's cheek with one hand and stroking away the tears with a thumb.
“No,” he stammered. “Zev. I—I don't want you to stop. I....” Pausing, he closed his eyes, took a shaky breath. “I want to be so full of you there's no room for anything else, if only for a little while. No responsibilities, no memories, no pain. Just you.”
So Zevran dove right back in, worshiping Neirin with hands and lips, slowly working the robes off of him, occasionally pausing to discard something of his own. Neirin tried to return the motions, until Zevran stilled his hands by covering them with his own. “This is about you, Neirin.” Saying the Warden's name felt strange, but somehow right. “There will be time for that later.”
By the time they were both divested of their clothing Neirin had no tears left, but he shook slightly, still unnerved by the contact but clearly wanting more by the flush to his pale skin and his lusty gasps, and his clear arousal. Fear sparked behind his eyes at Zevran's size, but Zevran redirected his gaze with a hand on Neirin's chin, forcing him to make eye contact. “I assure you, that is one weapon I am most skilled with.”
The jest earned a small, nervous smile, and Zevran urged him to lay back with gentle pressure on the elf's shoulders. Underneath those robes he was so pale, so slim, so finely boned, marked by a few small scars in discrete places—it would be easy for someone to hurt him. Zevran had no interest in tracing those scars or adding to them, though, felt no need to add to the marks left by previous men and women. This wasn't a claiming or a conquest, after all. So Zevran focused on the natural lines of Neirin's body, tracing down the light muscles of his chest and abdomen with fingertips, stroking his hardness briefly, and Neirin gasp harshly and arched up into his touch.
Zevran gave him a moment to recover, and asked, “Are you certain this is what you want?”
Closing his eyes and swallowing harshly, Neirin nodded. “Don't ask me again.”
Zevran moved away just long enough slick both hands with the oil retrieved from his tent, and one he wrapped around Neirin's erection, stroking him slowly, with no intention to bring the mage to climax yet, only to relax him. Still, when he touched Neirin's entrance with a slick finger, the smaller elf tensed, tried to pull away with a fearful noise, but Zevran shushed him, murmured soft encouragement. For a long while Zevran simply stroked, circling the ring of muscle there, gentle touches, until Neirin relaxed enough to allow a single finger.
Zevran kept going slowly, working up to a second before he went searching, trying to acquaint himself with Neirin's body, fond the spot he was looking for—and Neirin made the strangest face, a weird, strangled noise. “What--” Zevran pressed again, curling his fingers, and Neirin threw his head back, moaning. Once Neirin was properly stretched and clearly enjoying himself, Zevran laid a kiss against Neirin's lips, and this time the other man responded enthusiastically. Neirin made a little sound of discomfort as Zevran finally slid into him, but didn't draw away from the kiss, only shuddered a little.
They took it slow, Zevran giving Neirin time to adjust, and once Neirin nodded for him to continue Zevran sat a comfortable pace. He kept one hand working at Neirin's hardness, matching that pace, and leaned down to continue kissing and whispering soft encouragement. When Zevran adjusted his aim to strike at the spot, Neirin gasped in surprise, as if he hadn't expected it again, and wrapped his arms around Zevran, arching into him and eventually responding to his thrusts with a like motion. As he drew closer Neirin's soft pants and sighs became little moans, and he even wrapped his legs around Zevran. Zevran had to readjust for the change in position, but Neirin's enthusiasm encouraged him—he urged Neirin to sit up with him, such that Zevran was kneeling and Neirin straddling him. It gave the smaller elf a little more control, was a less submissive position.
After so long unsatisfied Neirin had little stamina, but he came beautifully, tossing his head back and sliding himself fully onto Zevran, spilling himself between them, crying out his orgasm in a sound so intensely sensual that the sound alone nearly undid Zevran. Zevran followed, emptying himself into the smaller elf as Neirin sagged against him, burying his face in Zevran's shoulder.
They remained like that for a while, Neirin clinging to him desperately, until Neirin's shoulders began to shake and he gave a quickly-stifled sob. “I had no idea,” he moaned into Zevran's shoulder. “No idea it was supposed to be like that. Maker. Thank you, Zev.”
Zevran curled around Neirin to lay a kiss in his hair. “Thank you, Neirin. You were everything I had hoped you would be, and more.”