They kiss in front of everyone, kiss in the face of every rumour yet to be, kiss with chains entwined with fingers and arms and his heart that is still on his sleeve – yes, she can see it, even as she looks away.
They don’t kiss for a long while after that.
The first time she tries they practice blocking until her forehead is soaked and sweat drips off his temples. A rivulet runs along the bridge of his nose and she has the impulse to lick it off, an impulse that quickly gives way to deeper, darker needs.
She is still so furious with him for making her trust a criminal, then look like a fool in front of everybody, for taking off in the middle of the night as though he could possibly outrun the bloody Nightingale and her spy network. Her mind may tell her that he acted out of desperation, out of loyalty to his ideals for once but her heart screams louder of indignations that are so hollow that they disgust her. What does her pride matter? How can she let it have any hold over her, what in Andraste’s sodding name does that make her?
“Have you given up, my lady?”
His voice, that damned voice that cuts through everything. Evelyn shakes her head and raises her sword again, ignoring the dull ache that has begun to form in her tired shoulders as well as the brief notion of concern for his exhaustion. I will wear you down.
They fight for a long while, nearly equals by now even if he’s stronger and she’s faster, less set in her ways.
They fight as the crowds around them scatter and the tavern begins to fill – Maker help her she longs for a drink or five – while the sky darkens.
They fight the way stubborn, prideful soldiers fight – with force and fire and controlled fury until one of them gives up. She crashes into him them, straddles him on the ground and tosses her sword and his shield away; his breathing is heavy, her arms shake, her head pounds with everything that is still unsettled and fragile between them.
I thought you loved me, Thom Rainier. Her hands reach for his neck, his face, trying to yank it closer but he’s stronger despite her advantageous position and when she thinks she’s won he grabs hold of her wrists and presses them against his chest. Her fingers struggle, crumpling up his tunic and digging into the flesh underneath thinking it will spur him, prompt him to act or speak but his expression remains the same. Still that shade of sadness, the taste of shame on his lips when he lets them graze her cheek.
“Not like this,” he says, his voice deep and low like something from the earth itself.
The second time is a ridiculous impulse narrowly averted on the battlefield as she believes for a gut-wrenching moment that he’s dead and he opens his eyes as another pack of darkspawn storms their camp. The third is a casual jolt through her body as she forgets herself and nearly walks by the stables to snatch a few kisses; she catches herself before she’s even reached the well outside.
The fourth is interrupted by Varric, unintentionally. The fifth by Vivienne and she’s less certain of the intent behind that.
The first time he tries he’s drunk, properly drunk in a messy sort of way. It’s the first time she sees him like this - she doesn’t care for it and she can tell from the way his gaze falls away from her, seeking the floor, that he doesn’t either.
But he’s drunk and he’s in her bedroom and she’s about to cross the floor when he does it first, sinking to his knees in front of her and reaching for her, hands finding her waist so abruptly she has to struggle to regain her balance. He leans his forehead against her stomach and his breaths, Maker have mercy, his breaths against her are hot and damp and when he speaks there are shivers jerking through her body.
She runs her fingers down the sides of his face, into the thick hair and tugs gently. “I’m up here, you know.”
“I shouldn’t… I shouldn’t be here. I’m…” His shoulders slump as though they’re trying to drag him to the ground, his hands sliding down from her waist to her bottom and Evelyn draws a sharp breath at the memory of a night not too long ago and he had kissed his way from her breasts down to her thighs then, had kissed her in places she’d never been kissed before. “But you’re…My lady.”
“Not like this,” she manages faintly, and when he doesn’t rise to his feet she sinks down to the floor with him instead.
Predictably, they finally kiss again in the tavern.
It doesn’t take more than a drink – half a drink in her case, the goblet pushed away as Thom’s hand finds hers on the table and the warmth and dryness of his palm against her skin makes something snap into place, her chest torn wide-open. At the bottom of his gaze she can see the same kind of helplessness and it’s a pull through the air, a battle rhythm in their bodies.
“I’ve missed you,” she tells him, thinking her own voice sounds strangely soft.
“And I you,” he replies and he sounds gentle but there’s a firm purpose to his touch as it travels upwards, his thumb rubbing circles over her arm, fingertips tracing a path that shouldn’t be entirely unfamiliar but feels new all the same.
“Thom Reinier.” She’s still’ trying out the name, every time she says it is a trial of sorts.
“I’m afraid so, my lady.”
She isn’t certain how it happens but she’s in his lap a moment later and his arms are wrapped around her waist, his mouth on her neck, a low rumble slipping out of him as she pushes herself closer and leans down, lips parted. And then he’s kissing her.
He’s kissing her tenderly at first, cupping her face like she’s fragile, or a mirage in the desert and she rakes her hands through his hair, the black strands soft and tangled all at once, slipping around and between her fingers.
He’s kissing her more passionately when she mutters his name again, less like a curse this time and with her forehead pressed against his.
He’s kissing her with the kind of expertise and filthy tricks that make her mind boggle and leave her wondering where he’s learned these things but she decides she’s had enough of his truths to sustain her for a long while yet.
He’s kissing her until it feels physically uncomfortable to wear clothes and she squirms, rocking her hips that he holds in a steady grip; the chair creaks ominously under their combined weight. Thom looks up at her and his gaze is dark with desire, so visible that it makes her throat tight and her legs shaky. She gets to her feet with some effort and holds out a hand for him.
They make it inside Skyhold and into the corridor leading to her private quarters.
They don’t make it further than the stairs, however, before his mouth is on hers again and her hands struggle with his clothes, tearing and pulling at their fastenings. She feels his hand under her tunic, undoing the laces of her trousers – then his rough hand meets the soft roundness of her belly and she hisses through her teeth, making him groan in turn. She takes a step up and he follows, then another one, but then she manages to free him of his jacket and reveal vast expanse of chest and she kisses it, tongue and teeth around his nipples, licking the scent of him off his throat until he jerks forward, grinding into her and she responds by shrugging off her tunic. Thom’s hands immediately come around her back to unfasten the bindning across her chest and his touch along the swell of her breasts renders her half-mad; she kisses him impatiently now, one hand inside his trousers, the other one liberating him off them and he’s hard, his face a stiff grimace as she teases him.
His thumb between her legs, soft and careful motions even if nothing else between them is right now, even if she hisses like a cat and he lets slip a few curses at the way her palm rubs the tip of his cock, tracing its way to the base and back again. Soft and careful, enough to drive anyone to the verge of furious, shuddering want and she comes with a stifled cry, her mouth sucking on his neck as she rocks into his hand, rides his fingers until she feels herself tighten around them.
He’s inside her a moment later, pushing her up against the railing and herself into her arms and she’s grateful for support as her own body gives in again, the aftermath always burning sweeter than the first release. Thom kisses her breasts, the narrow space between them where she’s pulse and sweat and he groans again, undone as her nails rake over his back, her voice in his ear.
“Maker’s balls,” he mutters, every syllable a pant against her neck.
“How eloquent you are.” She kisses the bridge of his nose, thinking she wants to know when it got broken, thinking she wants to kiss it again, often.
He chuckles, the rumble in his chest like an echo in her own. “You wanted Thom Reinier.”
“I do,” she kisses him on the mouth now, tongue carefully parting his lips until he responds in the same fashion. Slow, lingering, still-hungry. “I do.”