torch, flambeau@strangeplaces.net
June-November 2013

Disclaimer: Sometimes I write very slowly. Written for this prompt on the Dragon Age kink meme. Reassurance by Mary Crawford. Do not archive without permission.

hard work

Aedan slipped into his assigned guest room at the royal palace, closed the door, and leaned back against it, breathing out softly. Maybe it was unkind of him to abandon Alistair to the mercies of Eamon's speechifying and sneak off, but Alistair was the king now, he could handle it. Or rather, he had to learn to handle it, in a way that didn't involve making faces at Aedan behind Eamon's back.

And now Aedan had the rest of the day to himself. There'd be another celebratory dinner in the evening, but that was hours and hours away. The archdemon was dead, they were still alive, the sun was shining, and Aedan thought things could be a lot worse, on the whole.

Fergus was alive, even. Fergus. He'd gone back to Highever the day before, at the head of a guard he'd scrounged up seemingly out of nowhere, to get a start on reclaiming and rebuilding; no one had any real idea what things were like up there, but Aedan suspected that a returning Cousland would be welcomed with open arms by everyone who lived in the teyrnir. As for whatever men Howe had left in Highever, if they had any sense, they'd have run away.

Here he was, with the rest of the day to spend as he'd like... and he knew exactly what he'd like.

He walked into the room and rounded the giant four-poster bed to get to the windows. There he saw, not at all to his surprise, that a slim figure was standing in the window embrasure, leaning against the stone wall to one side and tilting his face up into the broad stripe of sunlight.

Aedan was fairly sure that Zevran had been assigned his own guest room, but he couldn't have said where it was, and suspected that Zevran had never even set foot in it.

Not bothering with a spoken greeting, since Zevran would certainly have heard him enter, and had probably tracked his every footstep inside the room, Aedan went up to stand behind Zevran and brushed the heavy fall of blond hair aside, leaning down to press a kiss against the nape of Zevran's neck.

"Mm," Zevran said, tilting his head to present even more of his neck to Aedan's mouth. There was laughter in his voice. "I thought you and our dearest brand-new king had a meeting with the arl. With important kingdom matters to be discussed."

"Well, I'm not the one who's king," Aedan said. "There was no need for me to be there." He nibbled gently along the edge of Zevran's ear and felt, rather to his gratification, Zevran shudder against him.

Zevran was so beautiful, so sensual, so exotic. He responded with open, eager desire to Aedan's touch and certainly never seemed to mind callused hands on his fine skin, never said no to an easy tumble behind a ragged haystack or a fast, hard fuck after a stressful battle.

But things were different now. Very different, Aedan thought, looking around the sunlit bedroom. They weren't on the road anymore, half a step ahead of imminent death. They had time now, and certain things Zevran had said were coming back to Aedan, and he wasn't quite sure how to handle them, but he knew he had to, somehow.

Zevran deserved to have everything he wanted, after all.

"Is Alistair still asking you to be chancellor?"

"Yes," Aedan said. "And I'm still saying no. I don't know where he got the notion it would suit me." He lipped at Zevran's earlobe. "And I'd rather not give it any more thought today."

"We could go back to bed instead," Zevran suggested. He turned in Aedan's arms, pressing closer as he did, and tipped his head back, lifting his mouth to be kissed.

Aedan wasn't going to say no to that. Kissing Zevran was addictive, a hot pleasure that made him want to push ahead into other pleasures. He tightened his arms around Zevran's wiry, whipcord body and thought about just how flexible Zevran was, and all the interesting possibilities that flexibility offered.

No, wait.

"There's something I've been meaning to ask you," he said.

"Hmm?" One of Zevran's hands was already pushing Aedan's tunic up over his hip. "Ask away, my warden. But I warn you, I will probably say yes."

Aedan wanted to say something flippant in response, something about how a yes to a request probably didn't need a warning, but then he thought about his question. "You talked about wanting to be tied up, once," he said abruptly. "Wondered if we had rope, and everything. Did you mean it?" And then, a little more slowly, "Do you still want that?"

Another soft shudder ran through Zevran's body. That was really all the answer Aedan needed, but he also got a sweet smile. "Oh, yes," Zevran said. "Yes, I want that."

Well, there it was. Aedan drew a deep breath. "I see."

The sweetness and openness went out of Zevran's eyes. "But only if you'd care to do it, my warden. I will not ask anything of you that you are unwilling to give, you know this."

"That's not it," Aedan said quickly. "I just..." Oh, how he hated to admit to ignorance. "I've never done anything like that. You might have to explain a little." He kissed Zevran's eyebrow, his cheekbone, his temple. He wanted to make Zevran happy. He didn't want to do anything wrong.

"Well, we need not do any such thing," Zevran said. His voice was a little too light, still. "If you are not comfortable with the idea, then--"

Aedan pushed Zevran's chin up with one hand and kissed him. "Tell me," he said. "Tell me what you'd like."

"First of all," Zevran said with his lips so close against Aedan's, Aedan could feel them move, "I think we should be naked. Did you lock the door?"

Aedan had grown used to tents -- if people walked in, well, then they walked in, though mostly they didn't. Back in Highever, he had probably locked the door to his own bedchamber a time or two. Or had he? He couldn't remember, but that was beside the point. "I'll do it now," he said, letting go of Zevran and striding across the room. "I wouldn't want you to be uncomfortable."

When Aedan turned back again, Zevran was laughing at him. "You are such an exhibitionist, my warden. You truly do not care if anyone is watching you."

"Well, no," Aedan said, coming back to help Zevran out of those supple leathers, not that Zevran really needed any help. "But the way you explained that word to me, if I were an exhibitionist, I would care, wouldn't I?"

"True," Zevran said, the word slightly muffled as Aedan pulled his shirt over his head. "Your lack of concern is either inspirational or terrifying, I cannot decide which."

"I did lock the door now." Aedan thought about some of those haystacks, and other places that hadn't been precisely private, but he couldn't feel guilty when Zevran, rather than make even the faintest of protests, had been such an enthusiastic participant.

Was an enthusiastic participant now as well, once again pushing Aedan's tunic up, though their height difference meant that Aedan had to tug it off himself at the end. He threw the tunic more or less in the direction of a chair and looked down at Zevran, who was kneeling at his feet, pulling his boots off. Zevran looked back up and grinned at him. "I do like you completely naked."

The boots came off, the leggings came off, and when Zevran would have made a leisurely production of taking off Aedan's smallclothes, Aedan growled impatiently and started to strip off Zevran's remaining clothing instead. It became a playful fight between them, Zevran's dexterity a good match for Aedan's strength, and Zevran's socks would certainly never be the same again, but they were in the royal palace and they were heroes, so arranging for new socks probably would not be all that difficult.

Once they were naked, they fell on the bed together in just the kind of tangle that Aedan liked best, twining together and writhing as though they were both trying to touch every part of the other's skin with every part of their own. But there was a purpose here, and Aedan wasn't about to get distracted from it; after all, they could make love like this any time.

"I don't think we have any rope here, though," he said. Zevran chuckled and bit his shoulder. Aedan frowned and twisted his hand into Zevran's hair, pulling Zevran's head back. "Is that what you want, the rope, or just the tying-up? Tell me."

Zevran flushed a very little, so faint that it was hard to see, even in this bright, sunny room. "No, the rope would only be the means to an end. I am quite sure you can improvise."

That wasn't quite the clear instruction that Aedan had hoped for, but Zevran was right, he did know how to improvise. He leaned forward, stretched out an arm, and snatched up his own discarded shirt from the floor, wrapped it around the nearest bedpost, and tied Zevran's arms with the sleeves, one to each side.

Quite a pretty sight, he had to admit. When Zevran's arms were stretched over his head like this, it did something to his chest and shoulders, an unexpected emphasis that Aedan appreciated. Zevran turned his head to one side, and his neck was a long tempting stretch of smooth skin, followed by the sweep of his ear.

Aedan bent his head and licked, starting at Zevran's collarbone and moving up. He couldn't get enough of the taste of Zevran's skin, spicy and oddly sweet, rather than the edge of saltiness he had thought to be normal for anyone who spent a lot of time in fighting leathers. When he got to the top of Zevran's ear, he nibbled gently, enjoying the way Zevran's body moved against his in answer.

That did remind him, though. "Is this enough?" he asked. "I could probably tie your legs in some fashion, but..." He considered the bed, the available equipment, and the relative lengths of Zevran's body and his own. "It might not be very comfortable for either of us."

"No, my warden, this is fine," Zevran said a little breathlessly.

Aedan had to agree. He'd never really thought about this, because he found what they did together in the ordinary way of things to be more than satisfying, but now that he had Zevran tied up, he was beginning to see the advantages. He went back to nibbling on Zevran's ear, enjoying the way Zevran squirmed underneath him and the hot press of Zevran's cock against his stomach.

There were so many parts of Zevran that Aedan loved to get his mouth on. Hands as well, of course. He braced his elbow to either side of Zevran's chest so he could use the pads of his thumbs to stroke both Zevran's nipples at once, feeling them draw tight under his touch. Then he kissed his way slowly from the hollow of Zevran's throat down his chest to his stomach, rubbing his face against the soft skin, feeling his stubble catch and the way Zevran's muscles jumped in something that might have been ticklishness.

He licked the curve of tattoo that came up around Zevran's hip, kissed the old scar nearly hidden by it. And the hipbone was right there to be nibbled on, so he did. Aedan had a particular fondness for Zevran's hipbones, and not just because they were perfect to curve his hands around in certain positions, either. Although of course that didn't hurt.

The sound Zevran made when Aedan licked a stripe up his cock was very quiet, just a hitch of breath with the smallest hint of something voiced in it. He did it again and the sound grew larger, clearer; again and again, and Zevran moaned outright. Then that moan broke up into soft, breathless laughter. "Only you, my warden," Zevran gasped. "Only you would have me tied up at your mercy and do nothing but pleasure me."

Aedan shrugged. "It's what I want to do." He circled his tongue around the head of Zevran's cock, tasting the slow drops that welled up there. Humans were bitter-slick, elves much sweeter, or at least Zevran was.

"You could be rougher with me, you know."

Aedan thought about that for a moment. He looked down at Zevran, spread out beneath him, warm and golden-brown and gorgeous, and then he shook his head. "No. I really couldn't."

The bright look in Zevran's eyes softened. "Oh." Then one irrepressible corner of his mouth quirked up. "But you could pretend."

Aedan laughed, he couldn't help it. "Have I ever struck you as much of an actor?" He sat back on his heels between Zevran's spread legs and stroked his hands up the smooth insides of the thighs. "You're at my mercy. Deal with it."

Because what he wanted was to make Zevran come apart, completely and utterly. Aedan reached out and grabbed the pot of balm that was tucked in a corner of the bedframe, not even having to think about where it was and how to get it, because they'd been sharing this room and this bed for several days, after all. He slicked up one finger and rubbed it against Zevran's tight hole, watching the shudders and the trembling eyelids. Then he shoved the finger inside and crooked it just right, and Zevran cried out.

Aedan smiled and leaned forward again, settling himself in a comfortable sprawl between Zevran's legs, one elbow bearing the weight of his upper body while he fingered Zevran with the other hand, sliding a second finger in beside the first just as he bent his head and started sucking Zevran's cock.

The sound that came from Zevran this time was priceless, a low, broken moan that tried for syllables, tried repeatedly to be a word and failed. Aedan's smile was more of a feeling now, something in his eyes and in his heart, because his mouth was busy. He slid his lips down until Zevran's cockhead was just about bumping the back of his throat, then back up, down, up, keeping the rhythm easy but the suction strong and hard. With a practiced turn of his wrist, he began to pump his fingers in and out the same way, slow but hard.

Zevran's legs jerked when Aedan rubbed him just right, muscles fluttering around Aedan's fingers. He kept making those sounds, and Aedan kept sucking and fingering, loving the way Zevran's cock slid hot and heavy over his tongue, the way Zevran's ass clenched hot and tight and begged for a third finger. Zevran moved against his touch, into it. He wasn't struggling against the linen sleeves that bound his wrists, or against Aedan's steady hold on his hip; he was pushing and twisting, but not to get free and not to get away.

And when his moans slipped back into words again, it wasn't because he'd regained a measure of coherence, it was because he'd slipped deeper into the pleasure. Aedan knew this, although he hadn't gotten to see it very often -- definitely not as often as he'd like. Zevran was a profoundly controlled person, the only man Aedan had ever known who could still be thinking while he got his cock sucked. Zevran could be moaning and writhing and coming in one moment, and all of that would be genuine and unfeigned, and then he'd be on his feet with a dagger in his hand a heartbeat later, and the cold death in his eyes would be unfeigned as well. Aedan liked that, liked it a lot, because he was the same himself, and it was such a relief to bed someone who understood.

But when Zevran was pushed far enough that he didn't think before speaking, that was when he was at his most vulnerable. Aedan had never deliberately tried to achieve that, didn't think he'd survive if every time was like that -- like this. Now he wondered if this was what Zevran had wanted when he asked to be tied up.

It wasn't so much what Zevran said, when he was like this, as the tone of his voice, the careless and complete surrender of it. This was a step beyond coming apart; this was coming together again in a different shape.

"Yes, yes," Zevran panted, "yes, oh, your mouth, so perfect, yes...." Aedan did know what a gift it was, and every hair on his body tried to stand up as he sucked harder and worked that third finger in deep. Then Zevran slipped into Antivan instead, and Aedan had no idea what all those words really meant, but he had no trouble understanding the tone of voice, the way Zevran moved and breathed.

He twisted his fingers and crooked them as if saying come here. And Zevran did.

Aedan swallowed and sat back, leaving his fingers where they were, because Zevran liked that. He watched Zevran's face and waited, until Zevran opened his eyes, not completely, and smiled. Aedan smiled back. "Hello again, love."

It was something, he supposed, that Zevran had never objected to this term of address. Instead, Zevran's smile warmed and turned wicked. "You should be fucking me," he said.

Aedan certainly had no objections to that. "I'll just," he began, reaching towards the shirtsleeves that held Zevran's arms tied above his head.

"No, my warden." Zevran arched a little, pushing down on Aedan's fingers. "You should take me like this. What if I try to get away?"

"Then I'd let you, of course," Aedan said, but he let his hand fall back. "Are you sure?"

"I would bite you if I could reach," Zevran said. "Aren't you glad now that I'm tied up?" He wriggled again. "In. Me."

There was nothing to do but laugh and obey; Aedan did wonder, as he hunted for the pot of balm that had apparently been eaten by the linens, how Zevran could come back so quickly from the distant place that orgasm had taken him. He'd like to keep Zevran there a little longer. Maybe next time.

That made him stop and blink in the middle of slicking himself up. He wanted a next time, wanted Zevran like this again. His cock had softened a bit, but grew completely hard at the thought of doing this over, again and more thoroughly, pushing Zevran farther and paying more attention to where he went and how to bring him back slowly and gently.

Fitting them together was easy; Zevran wrapped his legs around Aedan's waist as Aedan pressed in, hissing between his teeth at the hot, perfect clench. Zevran was never anything other than tight, no matter how long Aedan spent fingering him open. Even after an afternoon of slow, leisurely fucking, such as the time they'd taken for themselves in Orzammar, Zevran was still so tight Aedan would have worried about hurting him if Zevran hadn't made it very clear right from the beginning that he wanted this, he enjoyed it, and he had no compunction about biting if he thought Aedan was holding back.

But he couldn't bite now unless Aedan deliberately put himself within reach. Aedan grinned. He would have liked that, pressing down against Zevran, maybe kissing him or mouthing his ear, but instead he dug his knees into the bed and pushed himself up on his arms so he could look down at Zevran's flushed face, could see Zevran's eyes turn slightly hazy again as Aedan fucked him.

"You feel so good," Aedan said. "Incredible." He made a pleased sound as Zevran's strong legs worked to pull him closer, pull him in deeper. Which made him feel very glad he hadn't even tried to tie Zevran up any more than this. "Yes, you're really trying to get away, aren't you."

Zevran laughed, breathlessly, which made his muscles clench in fascinating ways. "I could be," he insisted. "You should hold me tight to make sure."

"I like you like this," Aedan said. "Oh, holy Maker, you're so..." He didn't even have words for it. The feeling went beyond just the physical satisfaction of taking his pleasure in a tight body, not that that pleasure wasn't considerable. Slow, tight coils of heat were gathering in his hips, at the base of his spine. But it was more than that. The pleasure of looking down and seeing Zevran like this, spread out for him, taking him, was so intense it was like a giant claw reaching in and ripping the orgasm right out of him.

Everything was a blur for a while, golden-brown skin against the near-whiteness of fine linen, the smell of sweat and sex and a subtle tingle of spice from the balm. Aedan only realized he had fallen forward when he had to turn his head to breathe, face mashed into Zevran's shoulder. Zevran kissed him softly, along the hairline, on the top of his ear. "Oh, my warden," he said. "I have told you before that you are magnificent, yes?"

Aedan made a noncommittal noise against Zevran's collarbone. Moving very slowly, he slid back, separating their bodies. He braced himself more steadily and started to unpick the knots around Zevran's right wrist. They were a lot tighter than he remembered making them. "You should have held on to the sleeves above the knots," he muttered. "Then you could have struggled all you liked without pulling the knots so tight."

One corner of Zevran's mobile mouth turned up. "But I might have ripped the seams," he said, all butter-wouldn't-melt.

"And now I might have to rip the seams." Aedan leaned in and tugged with his teeth, and finally felt the knotted linen give a little. Once he got the knot loose, he rubbed at Zevran's freed hand. "It's easier for me to get a new shirt than for you to get new hands."

"There is no need for you to fret." Zevran kissed Aedan's shoulder as Aedan shifted, turning his attention to the left wrist. "I am fine, my warden. I have certainly experienced much worse discomfort than this, you know, and for much less reward."

Aedan scowled, though as he had just sunk his teeth into the knot on this side, he didn't think Zevran could see it. Freeing the left wrist went faster, and he rubbed at Zevran's left hand for a while before he looked sideways enough to meet Zevran's eyes and said, "That is not the point."

"But I assure you, I am fine," Zevran said. "No matter. I take it you do not care to experiment further in this vein, then."

This scowl was fully visible, Aedan knew. No point in trying to hide it. "It wasn't what you wanted?" He laced their fingers together, his right hand and Zevran's left. Maybe he had done something wrong, then, after all. "We could do it differently. And I thought perhaps some kind of padding, or if you wore leather bracers and I could tie a rope around them somehow..."

Zevran stared up at him, wide-eyed. Then he smiled. "So you do care to experiment," he said. "Please believe that it will be my pleasure to cooperate. Fully. You can start whenever you like."

"So it was what you wanted," Aedan countered. He shook his head as he settled himself more comfortably between Zevran's spread legs. "You'll have to tell me more about the things you want, and how you want them to be done." He nipped gently at Zevran's lower lip. "As long as you know I won't hurt you. Even if you would like it."

"Yes, I know," Zevran said, managing at once to sound long-suffering and happy about it. He wriggled a little, not trying to dislodge Aedan's weight at all. He was beautiful, and Aedan started to kiss along his jawline, mouthing at the skin. Beautiful and contrary and self-contained, and Aedan hated not knowing how to do something, but he was going to enjoy finding more ways to push Zevran into that state of breathless surrender.

Maybe he had done something right. He must have, for Zevran to put himself so entirely in Aedan's hands. Not by accepting the knots, because Zevran was only ever as tied up as he wanted to be, but in the way Zevran had given himself over and submitted to the pleasure Aedan gave him.

Zevran trusted him, then. Aedan smiled against Zevran's earlobe. Over the edge of the bed, he could see that the sunny patch had moved a little across the floor. Zevran trusted him, and Aedan was going to tie Zevran up again and pleasure him quite relentlessly. Because that was what he wanted to do.

And it was kind of a relief that the rope wasn't important, because he didn't like the idea of rope on Zevran's skin, that would be much too rough. Maybe some very soft cloth padding, he thought again. If he couldn't pamper his lover after they killed the archdemon and saved the world, when could he?

Aedan put his head down on Zevran's shoulder, which made a warm and smooth and comfortable pillow. Maybe very soft leather, glove leather. Or... something.

"My warden," Zevran said, brushing his palm over the short-cropped hair at the nape of Aedan's neck. "My warden, are you falling asleep on me?"

"No," Aedan said, and did.

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