Cullen wrinkled his nose and turned to bury his face against the pillow. The bed was warm and soft, luxurious comforters keeping out the cold mountain air and pillows just the right kind of silky that warmed easily to touch. He would have to get up any moment now, the sun already peeking into the room through the heavy drapes. He had left a stack of papers unfinished on his desk last night when he had finally decided to call it quits around midnight. They wouldn’t wait another day.
Cullen spread his arm across to the other side of the bed and found it…empty. He frowned and kept searching but there was no warm body to be found, just an empty expanse and cold sheets.
But it was the jingling of china rather than the empty bed that finally made him roll onto his back and open his eyes, blinking in the light as he ran a hand through his scruffy hair.
“Good morning. I was trying not to wake you.”
Cullen looked down at the end of the bed. Eilin held a tray up and the intoxicating smell of bacon and eggs wafted across the room. He watched as Eilin brought the tray around to his side, eagerly eyeing up the covered plates, or at least right up until his notice wandered and he caught himself staring at the soft, pale skin of Eilin’s thighs, just covered by the overly large shirt he had pulled on. Cullen’s shirt.
Eilin cleared his throat and Cullen blinked before looking back up. Eilin had raised an eyebrow at him, his lips quirked into a small hint of a smile.
“And what have I done to earn all of this?” Cullen asked as he shuffled up in the bed to sit and lean against the headboard.
Eilin deposited the tray on his lap and lifted the cover off the plate. It was piled high with clearly enough bacon and scrambled egg for two, a crusty roll of bread on a smaller plate and a small cut of butter waiting to be spread. It was hot and smelled divine. Before even waiting for an answer, Cullen took one of the forks and skewered a piece of bacon.
He practically inhaled it as Eilin slipped back into bed beside him. Maker, when was the last time he had a good breakfast like this?
“You needn’t do anything special to be pampered once in awhile,” Eilin said. He took the other fork and scooped up some of the sunny coloured eggs.
Cullen looked at him. His hair was still mussed from sleep, two hasty braids pulling it away from his face and tied back. In the early morning sun his skin took on a pale glow. Even with all the trekking he did outside of Skyhold, Eilin never seemed to tan much. Burn, yes. Tan? No.
Green eyes met his and Cullen smiled at him. He reached up and tucked a loose wisp of hair behind Eilin’s gently pointed ear. “I don’t know if I deserve to be pampered but…this is good.”
Eilin’s lips quirked again, in the funny way they did when he was trying to hold back a smile but couldn’t quite accomplish that. Cullen had no reservations about smiling, and did so as he leaned down to press his lips to Eilin’s, soft and gentle.
“Eat your bacon,” Eilin murmured against his lips as Cullen pulled away.
Cullen couldn’t help but laugh.
They ate in companionable silence, pressed against each other at the side. Cullen devoured most of the bacon, as they both knew he would, and Eilin handed him pieces of buttered bread every so often as they ate. It was quiet and comfortable in a way Cullen couldn’t quite remember. It had been so long since he had been this close to another person, both physically and mentally, so comfortable in someone else’s company where words no longer needed to fill the space. Eilin was warm against his side, the whole room smelling of fresh mountain air and their breakfast as they cleaned the plate of scraps.
Cullen gave up the last precious piece of bacon to Eilin, who broke it in half and handed half right back to him. Cullen felt his stomach do a somersault that had nothing to do with breakfast.
The first sounds of morning were beginning to filter into the Inquisitor’s quarters - soldiers in the training rings outside, men and women gathering in the main hall for their own breakfasts, the chickens and roosters, ducks, and horses all creating a cacophony of noise as those that tended them opened their pens. There was a loud bellow of what Cullen knew to be Eilin’s Hart. Eilin let out a surprised laugh at the sound, swinging around to look towards the windows.
Cullen leaned over and placed the tray and empty dishes on the ground next to their bed. When he turned back, Eilin was lapping at some stray butter on the back of his finger. Cullen paused and felt his tongue stick in his mouth. Eilin would never, ever even think to call himself sexy, or sensual, or anything of the kind. He was practical and sensible it it was those qualities that made any small flirtation all the more appealing to Cullen.
Not that Eilin ever seemed to understand why Cullen could ever be drawn to him. Most of the time, he wasn’t even aware of the things Cullen found attractive. The way he pushed his hair back, the way he would lick at his lower lip as he thought, the wringing of his hands when he was nervous, or the self-assured smirk when he knew he was acting in his element and had out-maneuvered someone. Or right now, when he was casually licking butter from his finger with a small frown at his own clumsiness.
Cullen reached out and carefully took Eilin’s hand. It earned him a confused look, which very quickly turned to utter surprise as Cullen licked at his finger.
Cullen hid his grin and lapped again at the not-quite-offered hand. Eilin wasn’t pulling it away.
“Surely a napkin would be more…sanitary,” Eilin said, pausing to swallow between words. Cullen watched his throat bob and ah, there, his tongue just poking out to touch his lower lip in consternation.
There was something about getting beneath Eilin’s surface. He was quiet and thoughtful, studious, meticulous, but reserved and often removed. He was only just beginning to grow more comfortable with the smallest displays of public affection and usually only when he was returning from the field and the absence was felt keenly between them.
Cullen enjoyed being able to see a side of Eilin that not many other people knew about, and a side that only he got to see.
He trailed his lips down to Eilin’s palm, kissing the skin there before moving down to his wrist. Beneath his lips he could feel Eilin’s pulse, quicker than regular, thumping against delicate skin. Eilin made a noise that sounded like a squeak, which of course made him cover up his mouth just as quick with his other hand, a tinge of pink washing over his pale cheeks.
Cullen chuckled and with a quick tug he pulled Eilin against him in their bed. It only took a bit of shuffling to get him in his lap, the blankets arranged around them both. Cullen settled his hands on Eilin’s hips, thumbs running over the rougher fabric of his shirt, which all but dwarfed Eilin under fabric like a dress.
“It’s not every day I get to spend the morning like this,” Cullen said.
Eilin stroked back his curly hair, running his fingers against Cullen’s head and down to his neck, over and over. He closed his eyes and leaned back, letting the feeling tingle down to his toes as Eilin’s nails dragged across his skin, scratching lightly through his hair and easing tangles. He wasn’t sure what he had done to deserve a morning like this.
He wasn’t sure what he had done to deserve Eilin at all.
A gentle kiss landed on his forehead and Cullen sighed happily. He slid his hands up underneath the shirt, warm hands seeking out the skin of Eilin’s back, feeling the lines of his body, the slight softness of his middle, the places where muscles were beginning to form.
Eilin’s breath hitched in his throat and he plunged forward, lips seeking out Cullen’s eagerly. Cullen just as eagerly met him, traded soft kisses, hummed into his mouth. Eilin grabbed at his shoulders to steady himself, warm hands like brands against Cullen’s flesh.
Cullen was just pulling Eilin down, curling his arms around him, when Eilin gasped and pulled back. The blush across the bridge of his nose and cheeks had darkened, pupils blown wide and he pressed his hands to Cullen’s bare chest.
“I didn’t mean to… rather, I meant to… Creators! You make it hard to stay focussed.”
“Believe me when I say the same,” Cullen said. Maker, his voice sounded as though he was parched in the desert! He cleared his throat and tried again. “I suppose we should be getting up.”
“Not today,” Eilin said and he pushed Cullen back as he made to sit up.
“But you just–”
“Ah, yes, I didn’t mean–! Never mind. But you need a day off. Frankly, I do, too. No messengers, no reports. No nobles…” Eilin made a face of disgust and Cullen smiled at him. “Not even Josephine. Just…us.”
Cullen raised an eyebrow.
“I planned it all.”
“I would expect no less from you,” Cullen said. Only Eilin would meticulously plan a spontaneous day off from their duties.
“We don’t have to…stay here,” he said and Cullen had to smile again and the nervous way Eilin’s hands curled on his chest.
He would never understand why Eilin seemed to have trouble believing that Cullen truly wanted him and wanted to be with him. He did his best to mitigate those fears in any way he could but some self doubt couldn’t be cured so easily.
“But we don’t have to not stay here?”
“We can do whatever you want. I want you to be happy. Cullen…you work so hard. I know how tough it’s been for you. And I want to help. If I can give you just one day, I will. Because I know it’s all you will take.”
Cullen sighed and he wrapped his arms around Eilin. This time when he pulled him in, Eilin didn’t reel away. Instead he curled himself against Cullen, ducking his head beneath Cullen’s chin and pressing his cheek to his chest. His fingers trailed across Cullen’s sternum, down the trail of hair on his chest.
“You know me so well,” Cullen said and pressed a kiss to Eilin’s hair, inhaling against the brown locks, the scent of elfroot and ozone surrounding him.
“I ensured that we will not be disturbed unless it is an emergency. I stressed emergency. But as it so happens, Josie and Leliana are just as invested in you taking a day off as I am.”
“Is that so?”
“Even Cassandra told me that she would personally see to it that we were both unbothered today.”
“Maker, it’s like having three more bossy sisters…” Cullen groaned.
“Speaking of which, have you written Mia back?” Eilin looked up at him.
“Not you, too!” Cullen grabbed him and within moments had them rolled so that he could press Eilin down into the sheets. Eilin grinned at him and laughed, tangling his arms around Cullen’s neck.
“You said we can do anything I like today…” Cullen said. He stroked his finger down Eilin’s cheek, back up to follow the lines of his vallaslin.
“You have an idea?” Eilin asked.
“Yes…but I don’t think it involves leaving this room for a while.”
“Then I am glad Cassandra is guarding our door,” Eilin said and he pulled Cullen down for another kiss.