damalur: (Default)
no, use my SPACE name! ([personal profile] damalur) wrote2015-12-28 07:16 pm
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amnesty: his quarters (dragon age, cullen/lavellan)

Started for the kink meme and almost immediately abandoned for Hawke/Varric because haha oh. :(


He had best keep it simple.

The wine was easy enough; in parts of Orlais, certain less reclusive tribes of Dalish elves made a peerless honey wine and then traded it to whomever they might meet on the road. The Inquisition had several bottles in its larders, and Cullen had more than once noted the Inquisitor's preference for a glass of the stuff with dinner. After a moment of reflection, he added a second bottle to his supplies, in case of...accidents.

The activity was easy, too. Actually--actually, the entire exercise was a reminder in how relatively uncomplicated his dalliance with the Inquisitor was. She wanted for little and took the most joy in her work, a sentiment Cullen found profoundly relatable. And she preferred chess to cards, which made the whole thing damn easier, since he liked chess and rarely had an enthusiastic partner. That she was better than he was deterred him not at all. Still, it took him a little while to clear his desk; there were piles everywhere, scraps of parchments, letters and maps, reference books, sword oil, and little nubs of candles that he kept intending to melt down for future use; but after the last of his work was finished for the evening, he set the chess board up, dragged a chair to the other side of the desk, and opened the wine to breathe with plenty of time to spare.

He did worry briefly about the debris--in his office and even more in the loft where he slept, there were still enormous holes through the timber, as he hadn't done much more than lay down a rug and assemble a bed--but the Lady Inquisitor had never seemed bothered by the mess before. He had a feeling that if he drew attention to it, though, she would show up the next day with a hammer and a load of lumber to help him fix it, and that was exactly contrary to his intentions for the night; he wanted to lighten her burden, not increase it.

And if there were other diversions along the way...well. So be it. Even his headache had lightened for the moment; he didn't dare say the addiction was passing, but it did seem like a good portent.

She announced her arrival with three quicks knocks on the door while he was pouring the wine. "Come in," Cullen called.

The door opened only wide enough to allow her through. "Commander," she said.

"Inquisitor," said Cullen. "I thought perhaps we might try a rematch, if you have no other pressing concerns."

"I think I can spare a moment," she said, and surveyed the wine bottle (one of two; the other was tucked away in a drawer), the chess set, and the ring of candles in tall stands encircling the room. She was wearing a heavy outer coat of nug leather, but she took it off and laid it on a stool before taking the seat opposite him without invitation. Her hair was a very deep red in the candlelight; it was dusted with snow that was only just beginning to melt.

"Wine?" he offered.

"Yes, thank you," she said. When he passed the glass to her, he used his thumb and first finger to hold the top, forcing her to fit her hand beneath his to grasp the stem. He couldn't feel her skin through the tough gloves he wore, but she swallowed audibly and perhaps without realizing when she slid her fingers beneath his palm to take the glass from him.

They had inadvertently been building to this moment for days, an accident that had not been part of Cullen's plans but that he was not above using to his advantage; his original invitation had been issued nearly a fortnight before, but urgent business had called her away at the same time nearly six dozen templar trainees had arrived at Skyhold, and his anticipation had built to the point that it overwhelmed everything else, including his awareness of the twenty other things that demanded his attention and the thirty other things that demanded hers. He watched her as he circled the desk and took his own chair; she tipped her head in curiosity, letting him look, and then smiled her sweetly crooked smile at him.

"Long day?" she asked.

"Aren't they all?" he said. "You have more than your fair share to contend with, certainly. I noticed our messages to and from Orlais have increased threefold." He rotated the board to give her black, as was her preference, and made his opening gambit.

"I can't say I'm particularly happy about that," the Inquisitor admitted. "It makes it look either as though the Orlesian government is merely our puppet or that we are merely theirs, but Leliana and Josephine assure me we should be taking advantage of the current political climate. I'm growing tired of playing the Game."

Cullen snorted. "I have no head for it myself. I suppose there's deceit and dishonesty in any court, and dressing it up in fancy words makes it no worse, but I will never understand how Leliana can enjoy herself."

"Solas, too, and Dorian," said Lady Lavellan, "and Vivienne, of course, but she lives and breathes power brokering. Personally, I find the scale daunting."

"You were raised to be a leader, though," Cullen pointed out.

"Yes, of a small clan of nomads--hardly the same situation," she said. "Did you anticipate becoming the commander of legions when you joined the Chantry as a boy?"

"I was more concerned with making sure I knew all the right words to say." He chuckled. "And polishing my armor. I was very proud, when they first gave me that armor."

She relocated one of her pawns and took a sip of the wine. "Exactly. Well, not that I--I didn't have armor, but I went from studying elven lore and migratory patterns of the halla to sitting in judgment over the nobility of more than one nation." He could tell she was starting to relax; her posture was a little less stiff, and she was combing idly through the ends of her hair as she studied the board. She wore her hair in a peculiarly Dalish fashion, shaved short on the sides but otherwise long enough to curl about her shoulders, and it suited her. He'd wanted to ask her about it before, but he didn't dare risk saying the wrong thing and offending her before they were on more solid footing.

"Yet from the outside it appears you were born for the job," Cullen said.

Aredhel smiled at him. "Ah, it seems you've caught on to my plan. I'm afraid I make it up as I go along, but that will have to remain our secret, Commander."

"I can't decide if that makes excellent blackmail material or if nobody would believe me," he admitted. She laughed, as he'd hoped she would, and then used her knight to carve a rook away from his flank. Her wrist as she held the piece made a delicate arch, the underside thrown into shadow; he could barely make out her pulse-point.

He wondered if she had any idea what he was going to do to her, and then he wondered if he had any idea what he was going to do to her. There was that old insecurity rearing its head again--he was older than her, he was unworthy of her, he had virtually no experience to draw on and no idea how to treat a woman not of her rank but of her ability. He wouldn't have gotten as far as he had without at least a little hard-earned self-awareness, though, and he acknowledged the doubt at the same time he put it firmly out of his mind. Tonight it came down to only two things: he wanted her, and she seemed amenable to being wanted. Or at very least she hadn't fled from his presence yet, which Cullen decided to take as a positive sign.

The truth that he thought about her constantly. It was unavoidable. Many of those thoughts had pure intentions--what advice to offer her, how to carry out her orders, how best to train her troops--and many were at least innocuous enough he would admit them, even if they did make him look foolish; those were the thoughts that involved his eagerness to simply see her, his pleasure in a simple game with her or in sitting beside her when they took dinner, even the way he had learned to rely on her opinion when it came to personal matters.

Some of the thoughts were not pure or benevolent. They were vulgar. Filthy. They were the dreams that had him wondering what she would look like bent over his desk with her legs spread apart while he ran a still-gloved hand over her rear, the fantasies that painted an image of her above him with her head thrown back as her fingernails bit into his bare shoulders. Thank the Maker he was no raw recruit--ten years ago, even five, he'd scarcely have admitted he wanted to do anything with her. Now he knew precisely what he wanted to do and had some idea of how to get there.

When she reached out to move her cleric, she shuddered; he did not think it was entirely due to the bite in the air.

"Are you cold?" he asked, concerned nonetheless.

"A little. I'm still not used to winter in the mountains." She cupped her hands and breathed on them. "Although I am glad for one reason--less traveling for the season."

"Something for which we're both thankful," Cullen said. "You know, I've always wondered…"

"What is it?"

"When you're cold, can't you…" He hesitated. "Make yourself warm? Summon fire?"

"I--oh," she said, looking surprised. "I suppose I could, but it saps energy, you know that, and it tends to unsettle people if I simply burst into flame. And I...that is, you know I'm aware of your history with mages."

"I…" He stopped and thought for a moment, wanting to make sure he phrased what he was about to say so she understood. "I appreciate your caution, but there isn't anything you could do, magical or otherwise, that would unsettle me."

She blinked and then smirked. "Not even if I used you as bait to secure alliances with Orlais?"

"Well, perhaps then." He stood up and unbuckled the belt that held his surcoat in place. "Here," he said, "lean forward." She obeyed, and he settled the surcoat around her shoulders. The heavy mantle swallowed her frame, and with her tawny skin and eyes she almost looked like a lioness in the firelight.

"Oh. I--thank you," she said, curling her fingers into the fur. She reached out with her other hand, groping for her wine glass, but her head was turned to rub her cheek against the fur, and instead she knocked against the bottle of wine and sent it spinning towards the floor.

The Inquisitor swore. Cullen, who had anticipated something like this, reached out and snatched the bottle a hair's-breadth before it shattered.

"There," he said. "No harm done."

"Ma ser--ah, my thanks. I always seem to be knocking things over around you," said Aredhel. "We should be grateful the chessboard has survived intact."

He held her gaze and let a smirk curl across his lips. "Perhaps not for long--Dorian is getting more inventive in his cheating, and I fear he might try to open a very small rift soon to swallow my pieces."

"I'm astonished he still hasn't realized that you're onto him," she confessed. Her cheeks were flushed. When they had first met, Cullen had found her stoic, even dour--serious-minded, his mother would have called her. He knew better now; she would smile for him, and laugh, blush when looked at her and scowl at his gentle teasing. The others no doubt still found her sweetly solemn when she wasn't busy being relentless and commanding.

"You can feel where he gouged the board last time," he said. "Here." He took her hand and guided it to the side opposite her, where there was a deep scar through the wood from one of Dorian's more creative efforts. Then, instead of releasing her, he encircled her wrist, stroking the thin skin on the underside. She sighed, deeply content, and he thought about taking out a knife and slitting her sleeve from wrist to elbow and further still, cutting a line over her shoulder and then down the front of her fitted jacket until it fell from her. She would let him, too--he'd taken a while to realize, but she would let him do anything he wanted to her. It was certainly not a privilege to abuse.

"You are tired," he said instead. "Nightmares?"

"No worse than yours," she said.

"Too much?"

"This makes it better," she said.

He could scatter the chess pieces and haul her across the table and into his lap; he already had some idea of how well his hips fit between her thighs. It was an available option.

"When you have that expression, I always wonder what you're thinking," she said. Her attention was back on the game, although one of her hands was still loosely caught in his. "You looked at me the same way yesterday as we went over war charts."

Cullen waited until she finished moving her queen before saying, quite carelessly, "I was wondering if you were wet for me."

Her head flew up and her lips parted; her pupils were enormous, almost large enough to swallow the rings of color around them, and they swelled even larger still.

Cullen opened his mouth--

And at that moment, someone outside started pounding on the door. He jerked back, startled, and knocked the wine bottle to the ground. Maker's breath.

"Wait here," he growled out, and then he yanked back the door and scowled at the subordinate standing outside.

"Excuse me, Commander," the lad said. "There's been another fight--"

"Take it to your captain," he bit out.

"Ah, see, Commander, she's already asleep--"

"Then wake her up," Cullen said. It apparently dawned on the boy that the commander, who normally made himself available to even the lowest-ranking of his soldiers, plainly did not wish to be bothered, and he snapped off a sharp salute and bolted back to the grounds. Cullen groaned; he'd given strict orders that neither he nor Inquisitor Lavellan were to be disturbed that evening, and now not only had they been interrupted, but there was wine all over his floor again. He supposed it served him right for leaving his maps scattered on the ground

The sturdy oak of the door was cool against his forehead. Perhaps he should stay here; Aredhel could attend to her own needs much better than it was beginning to look like he could.

A hand fell on his back. "You know," the hand's owner said, "I've never had a man try to seduce me even after he's already gotten me into bed. You've going to spoil me."

Cullen sighed. "I thought it would be pleasant to have one night without any interruptions or broken bottles. One night."

Her hand stroked down his flank. "Perhaps we should count ourselves lucky for not being attacked by darkspawn in the middle of dinner?"

He snorted and said, "Andraste's sword, don't say that or they'll be scaling the walls any moment."

Aredhel's fingers had slithered down his side, and now she tucked two fingers into his waistband. "You could still make it up to me," she offered.

"Oh, could I?" he drawled, lifting his head to look at her over his arm. She was still wearing his surcoat.

Her eyes twinkled merrily at him. "For one thing," she said, "I never did get to answer your question." She hesitated and then glanced down; neither of them had yet entirely overcome their shyness with one another, but in the end Cullen thought it better that they took such care with each other.

She went up on her tiptoes, balancing herself with a hand on his bicep, and tucked her mouth against his ear. "The answer," she whispered, "is yes."

Yes. Yes? It took him a moment to recall what he'd asked, and then the memory slammed into him: I was wondering if you were wet for me.

He had her pinned against the ladder leading to his loft before he was conscious of moving; she huffed softly against his chin and then stretched to kiss him.

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