Theron’s feet ached and his armour stuck to his skin long before he passed through the gates to Antiva City. Next time he’d get a horse for the journey back, was the promise he made to himself as he trudged wearily onwards, letting his feet carry him down familiar routes through the city until he finally reached their apartment’s street.
It wasn’t until he was stood outside the slightly neglected building that he remembered the steep, narrow staircase inside. He tried not to groan aloud at the mere thought. Those stairs were all that stood between him and home, now. He could finally rest, and enjoy both Zevran and Nate’s company again. He’d been away for too long this time. He’d missed them, and thoughts of them had quickened his steps over the last few miles.
The stairs were cruel to his aching legs, he was practically hobbling by the time he crossed the threshold, but finally, finally, he was home again. The door wasn’t locked, which meant that at least one of the others was in. Theron leaned against the closed front door, knees threatening to buckle, as he took in the sight and smells of the empty front room.
He licked his dry lips and was about to call out when Nate emerged from the other room. The look of wary curiosity on the human’s face disappeared into a relieved smile, one that nearly made Theron forget about the pain and rebellious weakness in his legs. As it was, he gladly shrugged off the weight of his weaponry and pack.
“Theron, you’re back early.” Nate commented as he closed the distance, lowering his head to press a brief kiss of greeting to the centre of the elf’s vallaslin. The ranger closed his kohl-lined eyes, feeling the faint but distinctly masculine scratch of stubble and facial hair. As much as he and Zevran pestered over the years, Nate seemed determined to never grow a full beard, or even a goatee. Spoilsport.
“I couldn’t stay away.” Theron shrugged as he reluctantly pushed off the door; Nate stepped aside and trailed after him into the bedroom. “Where’s Zevran?” He asked over one shoulder.
“Out running a few errands. He shouldn’t be long.” The human answered, folding his arms and leaning against the doorframe to watch Theron pull his gloves off and begin fumbling wearily with the buckles of his armour. “Do you need help with that?” He asked dryly, and Theron let his hands fall to his sides as he admitted defeat so soon.
“Please? I’ve been walking all day.” The ranger answered, doing his best not to sway with exhaustion where he stood.
Nate smirked, but obligingly walked over.
“So, how did it go?” The human asked conversationally as he undid a buckle.
“It didn’t really go anywhere. Warden politics… I wish you could have come with me.” Theron sighed, letting his head fall forwards onto Nate’s chest. He could feel the human’s chuckle of response.
“As do I. But you’re the Warden-Commander, not me.” Nate sighed. His long fingers made far quicker work of the stiff leather belts, and soon Theron was shrugging off his shoulder guards, chestpiece and the sweat-stained padding underneath with a happy groan.
The trickiest part done, the two of them paused to take in the sight of each other again, Nate’s callused fingers roaming up Theron’s damp arms, tracing the swell of his biceps.
“We missed you, you know.” Nate informed him quietly, and Theron stood on his tiptoes to steal a proper kiss. “It’s a shame you’re early. Zevran was starting to come up with some mad plan to surprise you. Something involving a lot of candles.”
“A shame?” Theron smirked, glancing behind him to the waiting bed before he gave in and pulled away to sit down at last. “More like good luck.” He commented as Nate sat beside him on the bed.
“It does mean we could surprise him now.” The human nodded, looking over Theron’s state of undress thoughtfully.
“Surprise him in what way, exactly?” Theron asked dryly, and Nate looked up at him again in fleeting confusion until he realised.
“Oh! No, I was wondering if you still needed help getting your things off.”
“I would, actually.” He lied, watching curiously as Nate moved to help take his boots off, but stayed kneeling between his legs when that task was done.
“You know, this gives me a few ideas.” Nate confided, glancing towards the open bedroom door and the empty room beyond it.
As tired as he was already, Theron couldn’t resist.
“Well, Zevran isn’t here yet, and unless he saw you on the trek through the city he has no idea you’ve returned.” Nate began, resting his cheek against one of Theron’s knees, their gazes locked. “And as I said, we missed you. I’ve missed you.”
To emphasise his point, Nate’s fingers reached up to begin toying with the belts that kept the lower half of Theron’s armour in place.
Theron smiled wearily, but gave in to the hinting and soon wriggled out of the leather skirt and knee armour. That left him in his trousers and the smallclothes underneath, while Nate was still fully dressed in his plainclothes.
“Nothing too energetic. I’m not sure if I can stand right now.” He commented, and Nate smiled at him. It wasn’t quite a smirk; there was a fondness to it that made Theron’s breath catch.
“Leave it all to me,” Nate purred, reaching up to gently push at Theron’s chest. Taking the hint, the ranger edged back until he was able to lie comfortably on the bed. “My lord.”
“Stop that.” Theron muttered in vague complaint as he watched Nate follow him up the bed until the human was on his hands and knees above him. “You know what it does to me.”
“That’s the point.” Nate replied, his voice low and soft in a way that made Theron’s already tired muscles feel weaker. “I’m simply glad that you’re here, in one piece.”
The next kiss started off gentle and warm, each refamiliarising themselves with the way the other felt and moved and tasted. Theron’s hands found their way under the hanging hem of Nate’s shirt, brushing up over the firmly muscled planes of his stomach and to his chest. He’d grown used to the feeling of hair there was well, but it was mostly the stubble that remained fascinating even after so long.
He could feel Nate lean into the touch as they continued to kiss, lips pressed harshly together as the kiss became infected with their awakening hunger for each other, and so began to rub at the human’s nipples until he felt them stiffen. Nate pulled out of the kiss with a soft inhale, and once again they merely stared at each other, faces inches apart.
“I love you.” Theron found himself saying, and the human above him smiled warmly.
“I love you too.” Nate whispered, lowering his head until their foreheads touched. “I’ve been waiting for this - although I didn’t think Zevran would be absent. A shame.”
Theron smiled, and watched as Nate began to work his way down his body, leaving open-mouthed kisses in his wake.
“I’m sure he’ll sulk about how we couldn’t wait.” The ranger mused, gaze drifting up to the ceiling as he felt those long fingers pick impatiently at the lacings of his breeches. Mercifully soon, the knots were undone and Theron lifted his hips up obligingly as Nate pulled the last few cloth obstructions out of the way.
“Let’s be quick, shall we?” Nate asked as he stretched out between Theron’s aching legs, and Theron glanced down to watch his hand stroke him at last, coaxing his tired body to respond. The ranger shivered in anticipation and let his eyes fall shut as Nate’s hand was soon replaced with his warm mouth.
Callused fingers splayed over his hips kept them pinned to the bed, but Theron still writhed in search of more, a hot and wet tongue coaxing gasping moans and half-spoken curses from his throat.
His hands found their way from gripping the bedsheets into the black curtain of Nate’s hair, tugging gently in encouragement, pulling that mouth closer. Theron groaned again from the back of his throat as he felt the scratch of stubble against the inside of his thighs and his sac - but on such sensitive skin, the scratch was closer to a tickle. Either way, he adored the feeling. Another thing he’d missed on his trip away. Nate continued to bob his head as he sucked and licked and teased, as if determined to make up for so much time spent apart.
“Nate!” Theron found himself gasping as the low heat in his stomach tightened, knowing that he wouldn’t last any longer; but that was the point. In response, Nate groaned around him, and the vibration straight to his core was enough to make Theron climax with a last strained groan, one hand digging tightly into the crumpled bedsheets.
He could feel Nate licking his slit carefully, as if chasing the last drops, but Theron was too tired to care. He simply lay on the bed with his eyes firmly shut, panting as if he’d just run across the city.
“Told you that I missed you.” Nate’s smug tone made him reluctantly open one eye to watch the human stretch out on the bed next to him, steel-grey eyes fond.
“I could tell.” Theron grinned, severely tempted to fall asleep then and there. He glanced the still-clothed human over. “Don’t you want…?” He asked, frowning slightly as he nodded downwards.
“I would, yes.” Nate sighed. “But I don’t think we’d have time to finish before Zevran got back. And I think that’s a welcome home better saved for his nameday.”
Theron snorted at the idea, nodding in agreement as he slowly pushed himself into a sitting position and tucked himself away. Sweat still clung to his skin, so with a faint grimace he got up in search of the basin and washcloth.
Movement behind the Dalish elf made him turn to see Nate had deserted the bed in favour of picking up the shed armour, inspecting it critically.
“I’m not helping you clean all of that.” The human said, without even looking up to acknowledge Theron’s hopeful expression.
The ranger sighed in defeat, but returned to washing his upper body clear of sweat and grime as Nate dumped his armour into a slightly more organised pile in a far corner of the room. Thankfully, Nate treated his bow and quiver with more care when they were brought through.
Theron had barely set the washcloth down when he was suddenly ensnared from behind, the brush of a rough cotton shirt against his bare, still-damp back as arms snaked around his stomach to keep his in place. Rather than struggle, Theron accepted his fate and leaned back into the embrace. He was rewarded by the faint brush of stubble against his ear and cheek as Nate bowed his head to press a kiss to his throat.
“Welcome home, love.” Nate whispered into his pointed ear, just before they heard the front door open.